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Lawsuit: Changing prisoner count weakens rural, GOP districts

FILE-  This April 7, 2021 file photo shows Virginia State Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazwell...
FILE- This April 7, 2021 file photo shows Virginia State Sen. Travis Hackworth, R-Tazwell listening to a debate during the Senate reconvene session at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va. Hackworth is suing Virginia's new redistricting commission over a plan to count prisoners at their last known address instead of the mostly rural prison facilities in which they're incarcerated. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)(Steve Helber | AP)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:49 PM EDT
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(AP) - A Republican state senator is among a group of people suing the Virginia Redistricting Commission.

The lawsuit is over plans by the commission to count prisoners at their last known address instead of the prisons where they’re incarcerated. The lawsuit says the change will politically weaken Virginia’s rural and conservative areas after the state draws new congressional and legislative districts.

The legal challenge was filed Friday in Virginia’s state Supreme Court.

Petitioners include state Sen. Travis Hackworth of western Virginia. The lawsuit comes at a time when a small number of states have modified how they count prisoners.

Critics say that counting inmates at their prison addresses inflates the political influence of the area surrounding a prison.

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