The Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the final version of congressional and legislative maps that will enact political boundaries for the next decade.
The process allowed for the judicial branch to determine the districts after the Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to produce any maps.
“The Final Redistricting Maps prepared by the Special Masters are fully compliant with constitutional and statutory law applied, as the Court directed, in an apolitical and nonpartisan manner,” the order from the court reads.
The final maps stray from the initial drafts proposed by the court’s special masters.
Previous maps were controversial. The Virginia Star reported, “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.” The drafts would have hurt Democrats electorally.
“The State Board of Elections and the Virginia Department of Elections shall immediately implement the voting districts established by the Final Redistricting Maps to ensure that the 2022 Congressional elections, and any future regular primary or general elections that may be held for the Virginia Senate, Virginia House of Delegates, and Congress will proceed as scheduled,” the court order adds.
The final maps will still strengthen some incumbents’ districts but leave others vulnerable. According to Dave Wasserman, a redistricting expert for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) could be at risk in upcoming elections. However, Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) will likely remain in a safe seat.
Wow, this is quite different from the special masters' first proposal. At first glance:
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 28, 2021
At the state level, Republicans gained control of the House of Delegates in the most recent election, which also elected Glenn Youngkin to replace Governor Ralph Northam. In the Virginia Senate, Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority over their GOP counterparts.
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