The stage is set for Virginia's redistricting battle
By Kyle Maichle
RICHMOND, Virginia: The Commonwealth of Virginia is expected to receive its neighborhood population data from the U.S. Census Bureau on February 3, 2011. Receiving the data will be the first step in beginning a once-in-decade process of redrawing Virginia's legislative and congressional districts.
The General Assembly will use the data during a special session on redistricting in April of 2011. The session is expected to be politically charged when a split-controlled Legislature battles over incumbency and drawing new maps that reflect shifting population from Southern to Northern Virginia in the past decade.
The issue of timing could prevent lawmakers from finishing up redistricting work in 2011. Virginia is one of four states to hold state elections in November 2011. Some Republicans who hope to win control of the State Senate could push back congressional redistricting to 2012. However, Democrats would oppose any redistricting delays. New congressional districts do not have to be drawn up until the 2012 elections.
Lawmakers will be given input on redistricting from a bi-partisan advisory commission. Governor Bob McDonnell created the commission on an executive order. The commission will operate independently from the legislative and executive branches of Virginia government. Commission members will make any recommendations directly to the Governor, legislative leaders, and chairpersons of Elections and Privileges committees in the House and Senate. The first meeting was held on January 31, 2011 at Virginia Commonwealth University. The commission will plan to have its recommendations in place by April 1, 2011.
- Redistricting in Virginia
- Virginia House of Delegates elections, 2011
- Virginia State Senate elections, 2011
- Washington Post, "Delivery of census data means Va. redistricting battle is near" 31 Jan. 2011
- Washington Examiner "Redistricting battle looms for Virginia" 1 Feb. 2011
- The Washington Post "Could GOP grab control of redistricting in Virginia?" 31 Jan. 2011
- Richmond Times-Dispatch "McDonnell addresses first meeting of redistricting panel" 2 Feb. 2011