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Tag: VA redistricting

Shades of Grey: Virginia’s Ongoing Struggle to Ensure Proportionate Minority Representation

By: Hannah Thomson

As of 2014, African Americans made up just under 20% of Virginia’s total population. Yet, of the eleven congressmen and women elected from Virginia, incumbent Bobby Scott is currently the only African American representing the state, and only the second to be elected in the state’s entire history. This means that, while amounting to almost 20% of the total population, only 9% of Virginia’s seats in the House of Representatives are held by African Americans. Statistics improve slightly when looking at Virginia’s General Assembly. Of the one hundred members of the House of Delegates, thirteen representatives are African American (13%); of Virginia’s forty senators, five are African American (12.5%). Ultimately, a total 12.8% of the Virginia’s legislators are African American, falling about 6% below the total African American population in the state.

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Compactness and Political Considerations in Virginia General Assembly Districts

By: Emily Wagman

On September 14th, fourteen plaintiffs represented by DurretteCrump PLC filed suit in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond against the Virginia State Board of Elections, alleging that their respective House of Delegates and State Senate districts are not compact. Compactness is one of the Virginia Constitution’s three redistricting criteria. Along with compactness, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) requirements, and the “one person, one vote” requirement, districts must be contiguous and as close to equal in population as possible. Contiguity and equal population are relatively easy to determine, by looking at the proposed maps and the population data, respectively, compactness is more complicated.

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Election Law Program Alumni File Redistricting Suit

By: Emily Wagman

William & Mary Law School alumni Brian Cannon ’11 and Nick Mueller ’12 are a force in the latest round of redistricting in the state of Virginia. Cannon, Executive Director of OneVirginia2021, is leading an effort to improve fairness in the redistricting process in Virginia. OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting has filed a lawsuit challenging 11 state legislative districts in the Richmond Circuit Court. Mueller, working with the Richmond firm DurretteCrump, is one of the lead attorneys on the case. As students, both Cannon and Mueller participated in William & Mary Law School’s award-winning redistricting team during the Virginia Redistricting Competition in 2011.

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When a state’s constitution says “2011” does it really mean “2011?”

by Davis Walsh

Virginia’s House of Delegates appears ready to push Congressional redistricting to 2012, when Republicans will effectively control both the Commonwealth’s House and Senate. But such an action may be impermissible because Virginia’s Constitution, Article II, Section 6, mandates redistricting be completed in 2011, but the Constitution prescribes no express penalties for the failure to adopt a plan in 2011. The question that this situation presents is whether the General Assembly can ignore a provision of the Commonwealth’s Constitution when that provision includes no penalties.

Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican House of Delegates agreed on state General Assembly redistricting,  but each house passed competing plans for Congressional redistricting. The Republican House of Delegates plan would keep the Commonwealth’s split of eight Republicans and three Democrats in Congress. The Democratic Senate’s plan would create a new minority influence district, which would provide minorities with a substantial number of voters in a district but not a majority. Continue reading

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