Virginia Redistricting Map Proposals Draw Fire for Lack of Incumbent Protection, Reducing Minority Representation


The Virginia Supreme Court will approve final redistricting maps for Virginia later this month, after the Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to complete any maps. Draft proposals from the Court’s special masters released maps last week with no consideration for protecting incumbents, which has triggered complaints from both parties.

Virginia’s first draft Congressional map is a disaster that completely fails to deliver fair representation that reflects the Commonwealth. Virginia voters wanted a bipartisan and transparent process. What they got was two people hastily drafting a map behind closed doors and ignoring public input,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York-18) said in a press release.

The draft maps would harm Virginia’s three congresswomen, all Democrats, electorally. Maloney wants the special masters to start from scratch.

The first draft result is a deeply flawed and racially problematic map that prioritizes male incumbents while exclusively punishing female incumbents in the delegation,” he said.

In a written comment to the Court, former Virginia Congressman Tom Davis (R-Virginia-11) highlighted that the congressional map proposal places Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia-09) in Congressman Ben Cline’s (R-Virginia-06) district.

“Congressman Morgan Griffith, a resident of Salem, Virginia, has ably represented this district for more than a decade in Congress, and yet the special masters’ proposal places the City of Salem in the adjacent Sixth Congressional District. This writes Rep. Griffith out of his own district and moves him to a district with incumbent Congressman Ben Cline, creating an unnecessary primary election between the two when a slight adjustment would allow both to continue representing their current district,” Davis wrote.

Davis has been following the process for months. In October, he submitted a map to the commission that was controversially incorporated into a purported non-partisan proposal.

Political and civil rights activist Roy Perry-Bey warned that all three sets of maps — congressional, state senate, and state house — are a setback for fair representation for minorities.

These maps mark a monumental setback when it comes to fair representation. The new legislative districts proposed by the Supreme Court effectively wipe out African American districts. It has a devastating impact on African American representation in Virginia,” Perry-Bey wrote in a Tuesday press release. “Across legislative districts, the maps reduce the number of African American districts from EIGHTEEN TO SEVEN.”

The Court is accepting written comment and is holding public hearings on December 15 and 17.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia Redistricting Commission Meeting” by Eric Burk.




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