A bipartisan group of Virginia citizens recently announced their proposal for a constitutional amendment to create a Citizens Redistricting Commission to help end gerrymandering in the state.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) assisted One Virginia 2021 with the drafting of the amendment language to help ensure that the proposal promotes partisan fairness, protects the rights of people of color, and guarantees transparency in the political process.
One Virginia 2021, a civic non-profit organization focused on ending partisan gerrymandering in Virginia, is advocating for voters to get an opportunity to curb gerrymandering in their state through a ballot referendum in November 2020.
In order for the proposed constitutional amendment to get on the ballot in 2020, it will first need to be introduced as legislation and passed by the General Assembly in both 2019 and 2020.
The amendment seeks to create a citizen-led Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC), with the goal of creating districts that are drawn transparently and representative of all Virginians. If the amendment is passed, the IRC would be in place in time to draw new district lines for the Virginia State House, State Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives following the 2020 census.
IRCs are an increasingly popular method to get fairer districts in states where ballot initiatives are an option. In 2018, reforms establishing IRCs were passed in Michigan, Missouri, Utah, Ohio, and Colorado.
Well-designed IRCs offer the best option to help ensure that the map drawing process is more transparent, voters’ voices are counted, and politicians are accountable and responsive to constituents.