Surprise! Virginia Republicans Redraw State Senate Districts

On a day that is a holiday for many United States citizens, Republicans in the Commonwealth of Virginia redrew state senate district lines Monday afternoon.

The Virginia Senate is tied at 20-20. This move — redrawing district lines approved in 2011 (pdf) — is designed to tilt the numbers to 21 Republican-19 Democratic. If signed by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, the new boundaries would take effect in the 2015 senate election.

AP characterized the move as a surreptitious redraft. Blue Virginia is keeping a tally of news reports.

Virginia is yet another example of why redistricting should be managed by an independent commission operating transparently and with public input.

virginia map via shutterstock.com

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  • zephyr

    Sneaky lowlife wankers, guess cheating is the only way they can hang on to power.

    Virginia is yet another example of why redistricting should be managed by an independent commission operating transparently and with public input.

    Absolutely right.

  • http://cma-steadystate.blogspot.com steadystate

    To be fair, Maryland (where I’m from) to the north has had Dems drawing and redrawing lines for self-determined elections as well. And North Carolina (where I now live) to the south does redistricting via the legislature. There were YEARS of Democratic rule here and now that Republicans are in the majority in the state-house, they’re looking to turn the tide in their favor.

    The point driven home, yet again, is the need for those who do not benefit from redistricting to be in charge of it.

  • zusa1

    It’s human nature to operate in a manner that serves your own best interest.

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.azavea.com/com.redistrictingthenation/pdfs/Redistricting_The_Nation_Addendum.pdf

  • zusa1

    I can’t post excepts from the above article due to copyright, but a software company did a geographical analysis to evaluate gerrymandering using compactness as the metric. They found that districts drawn with total GOP control are more compact than those drawn with total Democratic control, and that districts drawn by a non-partisan process are more compact than those drawn when either party had control.

  • zephyr

    The point driven home, yet again, is the need for those who do not benefit from redistricting to be in charge of it.

    Bingo. The only reason the GOP still controls the house is because of gerrymandering. This is NOT democracy at work.

  • oldgulph

    Obvious partisan machinations like these could be in preparation for changing to awarding Virginia’s electoral votes by congressional district winner. These moves should add support for the National Popular Vote movement. If the party in control in each state is tempted every 2, 4, or 10 years (post-census) to consider rewriting election laws and redistrict with an eye to the likely politically beneficial effects for their party in the next presidential election, then the National Popular Vote system, in which all voters across the country are guaranteed to be politically relevant and treated equally, looks better and better.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    A survey of Virginia voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    By age, support for a national popular vote was 82% among 18-29 year olds, 75% among 30-45 year olds, 75% among 46-65 year olds, and 68% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 82% among women and 65% among men.
    By political affiliation, support was 79% for a national popular vote among liberal Democrats (representing 17% of respondents), 86% among moderate Democrats (representing 21% of respondents), 79% among conservative Democrats (representing 10% of respondents), 76% among liberal Republicans (representing 4% of respondents), 63% among moderate Republicans (representing 14% of respondents), and 54% among conservative Republicans (representing 17% of respondents), and 79% among Others.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  • petew

    To me, it seems incredible that states were able to essentially grant themselves the power to rig elections through partisan gerrymandering. I never understood why each district is not just left alone to permit changing Demographics and population increases or decrease, determine naturally which party will dominate in any given district.

    The idea of elections determined by popular vote, has always seemed the most Democratic and equitable manner in which to choose our winners and losers. Stacking the political deck (by either major party) is obviously as phony and suspect as a three dollar bill.

    Perhaps my attention wandered too much during social studies class. Can someone explain to me why this cock-a-mamey process began anyway, and, how either party could think it beneficial or fair, to in effect, stuff or dominate the ballot box in any of its State’s voting districts? It seems one hell of a rationalization to me!