Virginians demand redistricting reform

2020 is a year of change and opportunity for Virginia.

Sometimes lost in the partisan bickering of which we are all surely weary, there is an important proposal that deserves your attention. A bill to change the state constitution’s description of how decennial redistricting is carried out has passed both chambers of the General Assembly with overwhelming support (83-15 in the House of Delegates, 39-1 in the state Senate). This was in 2019, when Republicans were in the majority.

This complex process requires the bill to again pass both houses with no change whatsoever, and then be submitted to voters in November, before it can take effect for the next redistricting following the 2020 census. The intent of the reform is simply to allow voters to choose their representatives. The current system lets incumbent politicians choose their constituents.

Now that Democrats hold majorities in both houses, there are rumblings among some of them that this proposal does not suit them, that it has flaws. Those can be addressed with enabling legislation, and there are already bills introduced to do that, such as Senate Bill 203 and 204.

Regular readers of The Forum know that I am a strong partisan. But when I volunteer for OneVirginia2021, I am acting as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia. If Democrats use their majority to scuttle needed reform, they will prove themselves unworthy of their majority. All of our elected representatives, regardless of party, should support the proposed amendment.

For more information, read this article on the OneVirginia2021 website: https://bit.ly/35hNK3v.

NEAL SUMERLIN

Lynchburg

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