Governor McAuliffe statement on redistricting special session
“It is encouraging to learn that House leaders are willing to proceed with the redistricting process ordered by the federal courts, and even more heartening to see that the Speaker of the House now acknowledges that the Third Congressional District is flawed, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to deny that very fact.
“However, I am concerned that House leaders seem to believe that tinkering with portions of one district is a remedy to the Constitutional violations found by the U.S. District Court, on two occasions. The Court has ruled that the Third District is unconstitutionally tainted by racial gerrymandering. Indeed, the entire redistricting process was poisoned by unlawful manipulation of voting patterns based on racial demographics. Any effort to remedy that violation with minor tweaks to a fundamentally flawed map will necessarily remain tangled in racial consideration and therefore remain illegal. The only remedy that could survive Court challenge is one that starts fresh and draws new maps based on the principles of equal representation, compact and contiguous districts, and the integrity of communities of interest.
“It is crucial that all lawmakers return to the state Capitol committed to a serious and credible process that is responsive to the U.S. District Court’s clear and unequivocal ruling and, more important, to the demands of the citizens of Virginia. That is why I called the General Assembly into session. I hope the legislators understand the nature of the job before them.”