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Redistricting reform amendment passes out of General Assembly, heads to ballot

Virginia lawmakers on Friday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters say would prevent gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting, in Virginia.
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Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 18:41:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia lawmakers on Friday approved a proposed constitutional amendment that supporters say would prevent gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting, in Virginia.

The amendment will now be voted on by Virginians in the November ballot.

SJ-18 would establish the Virginia Redistricting Commission, a 16-member Commission consisting of citizens and members of the legislature that would redraw district lines in Virginia every 10 years.

The commission would consist of eight legislative members and eight citizen members.

Currently, the state allows members of the General Assembly to draw the lines for their districts, a practice which advocates say allows politicians to "pick their own voters."

“This is a huge victory for Virginians and we thank the delegates and senators who supported this amendment. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in our fight for fair redistricting that keeps power in the hands of voters,” said Brian Cannon, Executive Director of OneVirginia2021, which has led the anti-gerrymandering effort in Virginia.

The bipartisan measured passed the House with all 45 Republican votes and 9 votes by Democrats. Opponents of the bill say that there are better ways to implement redistricting reform, and that the amendment puts minorities at risk.