Another Lawsuit to Force 2022 House Elections Filed After Court Dismisses Goldman Case

Virginia politics author Jeff Thomas has filed a lawsuit against Department of Elections officials to try to force new House of Delegates elections in 2022. He argues that elections held last year on old lines leave him and other voters under-represented.

“Defendants have deliberately played games with the Court and the people’s rights for political reasons,” Thomas’ states in his lawsuit against Elections Commissioner Susan Beals and State Board of Elections Chairman Robert Brink.

2020 U.S. Census data was delayed, delaying redistricting until after the 2021 elections, despite large population shifts. That means that areas that saw population growth since 2010 may not have enough representation, while districts that saw population decrease may be over-represented. Thomas argues that dilution of voter power in under-represented areas is a violation of the Constitution.

That’s similar to a lawsuit from Paul Goldman that a court dismissed earlier this week for lack of standing. Thomas had filed to intervene in that case back in October, but that was never ruled on and was mooted with the dismissal of Goldman’s case.

The court argued that Goldman was not harmed and was in fact over-represented in the 2021 House elections, due to decreased population in Goldman’s district. But Thomas is from a different district that did have its vote diluted, which could potentially get him farther than Goldman did.

“Defendants’ failure to facilitate, timely adopt, or oversee the required constitutional elections, redistricting, or reapportionment of the Virginia House of Delegates violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by causing Plaintiff and 93,524 other people in HD71-2011, a majority-minority district, to be under-represented in the House of Delegates by a factor of more than 30 percent compared to other voters in less populous districts in Virginia,” Thomas’ complaint states.

Thomas wants new House elections held on election day in November 22. That doesn’t necessarily require new primaries, but it does mean there’s a time crunch, especially if primaries are also held. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday.

Thomas’ complaint warns that politicians from both parties are incentivized to delay the process.

“The current unconstitutional scheme benefits one hundred incumbents and their political dependents. Attorneys General Herring and Miyares and their litigators have little in common except their strategies to moot this matter through delay,” the complaint states.

Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said in a statement, “The 2021 elections were fair and constitutional, as record numbers of Virginians went to the polls to vote and had their voices heard. A federal court has already sided with our office in this matter and we will continue to aggressively defend the Constitutionality of the 2021 elections.”

A Department of Elections spokesperson said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

– – –

Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Farragutful. CC BY-SA 4.0.



Related posts