On the ballot this November will be a critically important question for Virginians – whether to approve a constitutional amendment that addresses redistricting.
Since passage by the General Assembly (GA), this proposed constitutional amendment has been controversial. Many support it arguing that the compromised version that was ultimately passed by the GA makes significant progress and implementing legislation can help blunt some of the problems. Many do not support the Amendment arguing that its flaws favor Republicans and that Republicans could amend or repeal implementing legislation should they regain control of the state legislature.
The Executive Committee believes it’s important for you to become knowledgeable on this issue and urge you to review the resources we’ve provided below. While the list is not exhaustive, hopefully it will help get you started. It is worth your time to listen to the full debate sponsored by the Arlington Committee of 100 and included.
Following these resources, a summary of the Amendment is provided:
Link to Amendment
News Reporting on Amendment
Overview of Key Features
Type of Commission: Advisory
What Maps the Commission Draws: Congressional and state legislature
Commission Size: Sixteen members
How Commissioners are Selected:
8 Legislators selected through the following process:
• Four commissioners (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are state senators appointed by majority and minority senate leadership.
• Four commissioners (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are state delegates appointed by majority and minority house of delegates leadership.
8 Citizens selected through the following process:
• The Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court submits a list of retired circuit court judges to the four state legislative leaders (majority and minority).
• Each leader selects a judge on the list to sit on the Redistricting Commission Selection Committee. The four appointed judges choose a fifth member from the list by majority vote.
• The four state legislative leaders each submit a list of 16 nominees to the Selection Committee.
• The committee selects two candidates from each list by majority vote to serve on the commission. There are no requirements as to the party affiliation of the persons selected to serve on the commission.
Who Is Eligible To Be A Commissioner
• Commissioners must be citizens of Virginia and meet any additional criteria adopted by the Virginia General Assembly.
• No member of Congress or the Virginia General Assembly or an employee of a member of Congress or the Virginia General Assembly may be a citizen commissioner.
How A Map Gets Approved
Step 1: Approval of Maps by the Commission
- A plan must receive bipartisan support in order to be recommended to the legislature, including votes from:
- at least six of the eight legislative commissioners, and
- at least six of the eight citizen commissioners.
- In addition, to be approved, a plan for the house of delegates must receive the vote at least three of four of the members of the house of delegates who serve on the commission, and a plan for the senate must receive vote of three of four of the members of senate who serve on the commission.
Step 2: Approval of Maps by the Legislature
- The general assembly then votes on the plans, with no amendments permitted. Votes on plans must take place within 15 days of the date on which the commission submitted the plan to the assembly. Plans are not subject to gubernatorial veto.
- If the general assembly rejects a plan, the commission then has 14 days to approve and submit a new plan, which the general assembly must vote on within seven days of the time it receives it.
- If the commission fails to submit a map by the deadline or the general assembly fails to approve a map, the Virginia Supreme Court will adopt a plan.
Public Input and Transparency
- The commission must hold at least three public hearings in different parts of the state before proposing or voting on a plan.
- All commission meetings are open to the public, and all commission communications and documents are public record.
Thanks to all of you for being active, concerned citizens!