Statement from Kathay Feng, National Redistricting Director at Common Cause on Virginia Redistricting Reform
“In our elections, every voice should be heard, and every vote should count equally. But in our current system, politicians silence voters when they draw their own district lines to protect themselves and their party. We commend the Virginia Senate for passing SJ18 and strong enabling legislation to establish a redistricting commission that will end gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts.
“Real redistricting reform gives people, not politicians, the power to draw district maps. That’s precisely the kind of reform proposed in SJ18 and the enabling legislation. The reforms give ordinary Virginians a seat at the table with politicians to oversee the map-making process. They enshrine the federal Voting Rights Act in the Virginia constitution to end racial gerrymandering and ensure people of color are not disadvantaged by the process. The reforms also prohibit map-making that advantages or disadvantages any elected official or political party and protect against gerrymandering in the middle of the decade.
“These reforms would be a huge improvement from the status quo. Virginia’s current redistricting process is conducted behind closed doors by partisan politicians, and the public has little opportunity for input. We urge the Virginia House of Delegates to complete what the Senate has started and take this enormous step toward transparent and inclusive democracy.”