Letters to the Editor: November 22 – 28, 2018
Independent Commission Should Do Redistricting
I share Delegate Marcus Simon’s hope that the results of the November 2018 elections will encourage members of the General Assembly to listen to their constituents on a range of important issues (“Richmond Report,” November 15) Although Delegate Simon called for “meaningful ethics and campaign finance reform,” he did not specifically support a constitutional amendment to create an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional boundaries when the next round of redistricting occurs in 2021. (In her Guest Commentary in the same issue of the News-Press, Delegate Jennifer Boysko did.)
To put an independent commission in place in time for the next redistricting, the General Assembly will have to approve a constitutional amendment on first reading in 2019. (The amendment would then have to be approved by a new General Assembly in 2020, and by the voters in November of that year.)
It would be a grave mistake for Virginia Democrats to conclude from their recent victories that the tide is turning and that they will soon be positioned to control the next round of partisan gerrymandering. Now is the time for both parties to abandon more than two centuries worth of political gamesmanship, and follow the lead of a growing number of states that are taking this job out of the hands of politicians and turning it over to the people.
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