Anti-Gerrymandering Lawsuit Moves Forward in Virginia

Feb 28, 2017

 

Virginia's 72nd House District is one of the ones mentioned in the lawsuit.
Credit Virginia Public Access Project

A lawsuit against Virginia’s House of Delegates for how they drew district lines back in 2011 will be moving forward. A judge in Richmond ruled today to not dismiss the case.

 


Virginia’s lawmakers re-draw the boundaries of their districts every ten years, when new census numbers come out.

 

OneVirginia2021, an advocacy group, argues the last time that was done lawmakers didn’t prioritize keeping districts compact and together. So they sued.

 

After court Tuesday, their lawyer Wyatt Durette pointed to a map of Virginia’s House District 72. It curves around the western edge of Richmond’s suburbs.

 

“It’s what you get when you ignore the constitutional requirement of compactness, this is the result," he says. "It’s when the legislator decides well we’ve got incumbents living close together so we’ve got to draw these districts to make them safe republican districts and the only way we can do that is drawing them in this ridiculous shape.” 

 

The districts mentioned in the lawsuit aren’t all Republican-held, Durette and OneVirginia2021 says both parties benefit from gerrymandering.

Ultimately, the advocacy group behind the lawsuit would like to see someone other than lawmakers put in charge of the process.

Making that happen would require changing the law.