Redistricting Commission Will Be Up Against the Clock Once New Census Data Arrives

Mar 30, 2021

Virginia’s new redistricting commission will redraw legislative districts this year. The state constitution says members have 45 days to draw their first maps once they get new Census data.

The Census Bureau doesn’t expect to send out processed data until September but it might get data out in an unprocessed format by mid-August.

This March 19, 2020, file photo, shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident.
Credit AP Photo / Matt Rourke, File

Meg Lamb from the Department of Legislative services explains that’s when the commission’s legal window to redraw maps begins.

“For all intents and purposes, this is that Census data that's going to trigger it. I think it would be risky for us to say, ‘Oh, we're going to consider that September 30th, the actual Census data. That's when our clock will start to run,’" she explains. "I think there might be a challenge there.”

After the 1980 Census redistricting and a court ruling, Virginia had three straight years of House of Delegates elections.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.