Weigh in! Public hearings begin on Virginia’s newly proposed voting districts

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 6:40 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2021 at 7:16 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Wednesday, you can weigh in on the proposed changes to the legislative maps for Virginia in the first of two virtual public hearings.

The Supreme Court of Virginia had to take over the redistricting process, with the help of two special masters, one Democrat and one Republican. This comes after a newly-formed committee failed to agree on any maps.

The special masters finished redrawing three maps- for the Virginia House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, and the state’s U.S. Congressional Districts. The goal is to reconfigure the districts based on new population statistics, in as much of a non-partisan way as possible. That’s easier said than done.

According to our partners at Virginia Mercury, the newly proposed maps tend to favor Democrats because they are concentrated around more crowded areas, like cities. The U.S. Congressional map and state Senate map appear to lean Democratic. Republicans would likely hold power in the House of Delegates. But the special masters wrote in their report that they believe either side could take a victory in any of the given maps.

One district that’s gotten a lot of attention so far is the 7th Congressional District.

The new map moves the entire district farther north to include Stafford and Prince Williams counties, which are more quickly turning blue. If approved, it would also leave U.S. Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Henrico, nearly 50 miles outside of her current district.

7th Congressional District in Virginia is highlighted in grey.
7th Congressional District in Virginia is highlighted in grey.(https://www.virginiaredistricting.org)

Spanberger could still run in the 7th District in the next election, but she’d actually have to move from Henrico to be physically in the area in which she represents.

Public hearings will be held virtually Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Friday, Dec. 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. If you wish to speak, you must sign up 24 hours in advance by emailing Redistricting@vacourts.gov with your name, email and which area of the state you live in. You’ll then receive a link to join the meeting and more instructions.

The court will consider all the public feedback and make final approvals of the maps by Dec. 19.

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