Who Should Be Able to Serve on New Redistricting Commission?

Oct 9, 2020

Voters are considering a constitutional amendment that would create a new commission to draw political boundaries. But just who is expected to serve on this commission?

The only requirements for the eight citizen members of the proposed Redistricting Commission is that they can’t be an employee of the General Assembly or of Congress. Beyond that, it’s wide open. But lawmakers could still create new requirements for the citizen members during the special session.

Delegate Marcus Simon is a Democrat from Fairfax County who says lawmakers could create a list of people who are not welcome to the party. 

“I think the first folks on your list would be lobbyists, right? Lobbyists and their principals. So, if your business is to influence legislators, you ought to not be in a position to pick the districts for those legislators as well," he explains. "Certainly, professional politicians and their employees; the chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax; probably wouldn’t be a great idea to have him as an appointee.”

Currently, there’s nothing stopping a lobbyist from serving on the proposed redistricting commission, although Senator Adam Ebbin of Alexandria says it probably would not be in the lobbyist’s best interest.

“They might think they could be influencing it, but it could be bad for them because they could alienate people,” Ebbin says.

Aside from the eight citizen members, the proposed commission would also have eight members of the General Assembly, four House members and four Senators.

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