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SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

Over the next three months, we will be working with Voters Not Politicians in Michigan and other partners to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP
Virginia

Process

Virginia's state legislative and congressional districts are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. These plans must be approved 92 days before their respective primary. Because Virginia has off-year elections, its redistricting timeline is highly accelerated for state legislative districts.

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Virginia law requires that state legislative and congressional districts be compact, contiguous, and preserve communities of interest.

  • Following Governor Northam's likely signature on SB717, Virginia's criteria will now include state-level Voting Rights Act language, protections for communities of interest, and a prohibition on partisan gerrymandering when considering a map on a state-wide basis. These are added onto other requirements like compactness, contiguity, and equal population.

  • In addition, SB717 would end prison gerrymandering in Virginia, requiring that prisoners are counted at their last-known residence rather than their location of incarceration.

Virginia has no public hearing requirement, but it has held redistricting hearings in the past. In the last cycle, public hearings were held about the state legislative maps between September 8 and November 27 in 2010. For the congressional maps, hearings were held in March 2011. Without a change in law, a similar timeline seems likely given Virginia's accelerated redistricting schedule.

Issues

  • The House of Delegates and state Senate are both under Democratic control, creating single-party control over redistricting in 2021.

  • As of March 2020, a constitutional amendment to establish a hybrid, bipartisan redistricting commission has passed through the General Assembly twice. The amendment, SJ18, has now met most of the Commonwealth's requirements for a amending the constitution. The final step of this process is for Virginians to vote on the Amendment in November 2020. PGP wrote a report about the amendment, proposed enabling legislation, and potential alternatives. PGP also organized two coalition letters in favor of the amendment, one with national co-signers and one with Southern co-signers.

  • In the 2020 session, no shortage of redistricting bills were introduced, but with session now over, only the standalone criteria legislation passed. Due to a conference committee issue on the final day of the 2020 session, the enabling legislation (HB758/SB203) did not pass. However, avenues exist for its passage through other means, such as a special session or other gubernatorial actions.

Actions

In 2020, advocate for the reform amendment and enabling legislation.

In 2021, use public input to persuade the Legislature to draw fair districts and to identify communities of interest.

  • Obtain Virginia redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.

  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

Congressional Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
State Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
Legislative Control: Democratic
Governor's Political Party: Democratic
Last Updated: Mar 20 2020