Court Turns Back Delay in Virginia Redistricting Ruling


In Hampton Roads, Delegates Chris Stolle (R-Norfolk) and Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) would also be placed in the same district.

Lawyers for the election advocacy groups and Democrats who sued over the maps wrote they "reluctantly concluded" imposing a new plan for this year would be "too disruptive and potentially counterproductive".

The court ordered lawmakers in June to redraw the state's legislative map by October 30 after it found that some districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The court found lawmakers illegally packed black voters into certain districts to make surrounding districts whiter and more Republican.

The Virginia House GOP released a statement late Thursday saying the plan moves five currently-held Republican seats to "Safe Democratic" seats, based on the 2017 gubernatorial results.

"We saw House Democrats introduce a map that goes to great lengths to protest four of their vulnerable members", said Delegate Todd Gilbert.

When the special session opened Thursday, delegates briefly debated the Democrats' proposal to redraw 29 House districts.

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Notably, the redrawn map would move some African-American voters into neighboring districts that now lean Republican.

NBC12 Political analyst and VCU Dean of Humanities and Sciences Dr. Deirdre Condit said the battle is not just over district lines, but over power in the House.

In the present circumstance, if one believes that checks and balances among the three parts of the federal government are crucial, then electing a Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives is imperative.

However nice Rep. Stefanik may be, if she is re-elected, she will continue to vote with Republicans to control the organization of the House. "The stakes are really high for the parties going forward", Condit said. The "narrow and specific" fix the Democrats have put forth would affect almost a third of the House's 100 districts.

Republicans said the Democrats plan on addressing 29 of the 115 issues identified by the court. "If Republicans are going to criticize the constitutional map offered by Democrats today, they should produce their own".

Said Durrette, "We all agree there has to be a better way or we would not be on this committee". He added, "I think the courts stated that they didn't like the idea of having a number".