Northam calls Aug. 30 General Assembly special session to redraw House districts

virginia general assemblyGovernor Ralph Northam today signed a proclamation calling the members of the Virginia General Assembly into special session on Aug. 30 for the purpose of redrawing districts of the Virginia House of Delegates.

The announcement follows the House Democratic Caucus’s repeated requests to Speaker Kirk Cox to move forward with redrawing the eleven legislative districts determined by the court to be racially gerrymandered.

“It is in the public interest for the General Assembly to finalize constitutional maps as soon as possible – Virginians deserve that clarity,” Northam said today. “I am calling a special session so we can focus our collective attention on doing what’s right: working together to draw lines that represent Virginians fairly.”

House Democratic Leader David Toscano first sent Speaker Cox a letter on July 16, calling on the Republicans to comply with the court’s suggestion that the General Assembly redraw the districts by October 30 this year. The District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled at the end of June that eleven districts violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution by illegally packing African Americans, effectively diluting their voting power.

Toscano repeated his request to Speaker Cox in a second letter on Aug. 13, following the court’s order that House Republicans state by Aug. 24 whether they intend to complete the new maps by the Oct. 30 deadline.

“I am gratified that Governor Northam is convening a special session to not only comply with the court’s suggestion, but to serve the best interest of Virginia voters,” said Delegate Toscano. “We have been operating with unconstitutional districts drawn by Republicans since 2011, and we must rectify them immediately.”

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