House Republicans block redistricting reform

virginia general assemblyHouse Republicans can’t even tolerate watered-down redistricting reform.

A group of GOP delegates have effectively blocked reform legislation introduced in the 2017 General Assembly session. Dels. Randy Minchew, Mark Cole, Tim Hugo and Jackson Miller all voted against redistricting reforms, including one carried by Weyers Cave Republican Del. Steve Landes that would prohibit the wide-spread practice of politicians carving out their political opponents.

The Landes measure, hardly radical, was focused on a simple one-line addition to the Virginia Constitution: “No electoral district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator, member of Congress, or other individual or entity.”

“This amendment represents the core component of redistricting reform.  It is simple:  if you think politicians should be able to carve out their political opponents, then you are for gerrymandering and the elimination of competition in our elections,” said Brian Cannon, executive director of OneVirginia2021, a nonpartisan redistricting reform group.

“This was particularly disappointing given that Delegate Minchew has previously supported redistricting reform and today he cast the deciding vote in his subcommittee to kill even the most modest efforts to stop gerrymandering.”

So there you go, Virginia. Your legislature is gerrymandered, and will continue to be so.

“Looking forward, we hope other members of the House of Delegates will bring bills beyond Delegate Minchew’s subcommittee for a full vote on the floor,” Cannon said. “Virginians are looking for leaders who will not be afraid to stand up for fair, competitive elections over incumbents picking their voters and redrawing district lines to their own advantage.”

Story by Chris Graham

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