Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Virginia Redistricting Coalition tells Governor to veto GA gerrymander

(Richmond, VA April 13, 2011) Pointing to a new, impartial analysis that shows the General Assembly redistricting plan passed this week would be a step backward for Virginia voters, the non-partisan Virginia Redistricting Coalition called on Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto and amend the bill.

“This side-by-side comparison should be all the proof the governor needs to fix this gerrymander and send it back to the Assembly,” said C. Douglas Smith, director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and chairman of the Coalition. “The Wason Center study shows clearly that the Commission and the College Competition both presented better district maps than the legislature.”

The study, commissioned by the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, was released today. It compares House of Delegates and Senate district maps passed by the General Assembly with maps presented by the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting and the winners of the Virginia College and University Redistricting Competition.

Here is the study’s judgment on the General Assembly maps: “The impartial criteria and metrics used in this report unequivocally show that the House and Senate redistricting maps passed by the General Assembly in HB 5001 will make legislative districts less compact, split more counties and cities, and separate commonsense communities of interest even more than the maps currently in place. In short, the maps presented to the Governor by the General Assembly would make a bad situation worse for the coming decade.”

By contrast, the study assesses the Advisory Commission maps and student maps this way: “The empirical analysis in this paper will show that the model maps from the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting and the winning maps from the Virginia College and University Redistricting Competition improve upon the current districts in dramatic ways without sacrificing equal population standards or voting rights considerations.”

And here is its conclusion: “In sum, this paper provides an empirical basis according to which the Governor could exercise his Constitutional authority to amend and improve House Bill 5001, and return it to the General Assembly for further action.”

The full report CLICK HERE.

“The governor has said publicly that our new political districts should be compact and respect city and county boundaries and communities of interest,” said business and civic leader James E. Ukrop, a member of the Coalition. “Now it’s his turn to act by those standards.”

The Virginia Redistricting Coalition is a statewide group of organizations and individuals who advocate bipartisan redistricting reform.

  • C. Douglas Smith can be reached at 804-370-6689 or
  • James E. Ukrop can be reached at 804-327-7520 or

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2011, Elections, Politics, State Politics

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