Virginia prepares to fix Congressional map

WASHINGTON — After Virginia’s Congressional map was declared
unconstitutional, the General Assembly will not only consider how to fix it
during this winter’s session, but also how new maps should be drawn in the

A constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-
Bath, would create a bipartisan commission to draw boundaries for General
Assembly districts and the U.S. House of Representatives.

It is part of a long running fight about whether the party in control when the
census data comes in should be able to gerrymander districts or whether
districts should be drawn more independently.

“I think everybody would be better off if there was a better process,” former
Democratic Delegate Whitt Clement said at an Associated Press panel discussion
in Richmond.

Del. Rich Anderson, R-Prince William, says discussions over redistricting are
sure to heat up, especially with a commission now designated to suggest a
solution to the problem.

“There are essentially two views out there. There is the view that there
should be an entirely nonpartisan process. And that’s the tough part, getting
to there.

“And then on the other side of the spectrum, there’s those who
subscribe to the Jacksonian philosophy of ‘to the victor belong the spoils,’
and usually it’s the majority party in power at that time that subscribes to
that philosophy. I think the answer will probably ultimately lie somewhere in
between,” Anderson says.

Clement says changing the way the boundaries are drawn could help end
gridlock, like the standoff that nearly led to Virginia’s first-ever
government shutdown earlier in 2014.

“I think it’s certainly true in Washington. The Democrats I think are farther
to the left than many of them would be, and I think many of the Republicans
are farther to the right than many of them are comfortable being. And it’s all
because of the way the lines are drawn, that the contests are decided in June
in a primary and not in November in a general election,” Clement says.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is a Democrat, has said he supports a nonpartisan

Republicans control both the House of Delegates and Senate.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up