Virginia’s bipartisan redistricting board splits over partisan lines

The task of drawing new legislative and congressional districts in Virginia every 10 years using census data used to fall to the General Assembly. Last fall, voters decided to transfer that power to a bipartisan commission composed of eight legislators and eight private citizens. But the commission can’t seem to agree on its most basic task: who will help it create district maps.

On Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats on the Commission split on who they should use to draw district lines. They agreed to submit two sets of maps — one drawn by a Democratic-leaning firm, the other Republican — to the assembly in October.

Greta Harris, the Democratic co-chair of the commission and CEO of the nonprofit Better Housing Coalition, said, “The spirit of what we were trying to do as a commission … is not unfolding quite the way maybe many citizens had hoped.”

Del. Delores McQuinn, a Democratic member of the commission who represents parts of Chesterfield and Henrico counties and Richmond, said, “I just don’t see how we are going to successfully accomplish the task before us, having two different map drawers.”

The commission will meet weekly to get its maps to the Virginia General Assembly by the October deadline. If the commission’s maps are rejected by the legislature, the Virginia Supreme Court will draw the new districts.

See the video of the meeting.

Chris Cruise

Christopher Cruise is a writer, reporter and anchor at WTOP. He has worked at The Voice of America, where he anchored newscasts for the Learning English branch. He is a backup host for Westwood’s morning radio news programs, “America in the Morning” and “First Light,” and contributes to them weekly.

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