Redistricting Commission Adjourns, Perhaps for Last Time


It appears that the entire task of redistricting -- both state legislative and congressional maps -- is headed for the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The Redistricting Commission met Wednesday but was unable to find even a glimmer of bipartisan cooperation. After deadlocking on a pair of party-line votes, the panel voted unanimously to adjourn and reconvene only if the two citizen co-chairs believe there is a map that both sides could support.

The next step in the process will be for the Supreme Court to wait until the commission's deadlines to expire - Sunday for 100 state House districts and 40 state Senate districts and November 8 for the state's 11 congressional districts.

Halloween will be the deadline for Republican and Democratic legislative leaders each to provide the court with three or more names of redistricting experts who will draw the maps for the justices. Democrats who control the General Assembly earlier this year inserted language in the state budget to require two mapmakers, each representing a different party.

The budget language and the Supreme Court redistricting protocols require the two experts to "work together" to draw the maps.

The slimmest of chances the Redistricting Commission might find some bipartisan compromise evaporated at the start of Wednesday's meeting. The commission's two mapmakers -- one Republican, one Democratic -- each posted yet another set of congressional maps that would result in very different partisan outcomes.

Currently, Virginia's congressional delegation is 7-D, 4-R.

Putting the maps aside, the panel debated what party split would constitute political fairness. But the Commission deadlocked on two party-line votes on how many of the 11 seats should favor each party.

  • A motion to draw 5-R, 5-D and one more competitive district was favored by eight Commission Republicans and opposed by the eight Democrats.
  • An alternative approach (5-D, 4-R, 2 competitive) also failed, this time with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

Oct. 20, 2021

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