An attempt to find a bipartisan compromise on political redistricting culminated Thursday in a pair of party-line votes by a House of Delegates committee. It endorsed a new Republican plan, while killing a bill proposed by Democrats in a battle for control of the closely divided chamber before elections next year. The House Privileges and Elections Committee voted 12-10 to endorse a bill that Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, introduced a day earlier, with a promise of some Democratic support. Jones said it was an effort to break an impasse in finding a legislative solution after a federal court found that 11 House districts were racially gerrymandered. Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, D-Virginia Beach, one of six Democrats whom Jones said he had approached for support, voted against the bill. She also voted against a move by the Republican-controlled panel to kill the Democratic redistricting plan that Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, had introduced on Aug. 30.
Convirs-Fowler said she still supports collaboration across party lines to find a legislative solution before a federal court deadline on Oct. 30, but not the electoral map Jones produced in House Bill 7003.
“Above all, I support redistricting reform, because elected officials should not choose their voters – voters should choose their elected officials,” she said in a statement after the meeting. “I am disappointed that we could not work together to correct the unconstitutional racial gerrymandering of these 11 districts.”
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