In both Virginia and Florida, legislators will meet in special sessions next month to deal with an issue they thought they’d settled years ago — redistricting. Congressional maps in both states have been ruled invalid by the courts. The reasons were different in each case, but each speaks to a trend that is keeping redistricting very much a live issue midway through the decade. Political lines have to be redrawn once every 10 years, following the census. But the fight over them never really stops.
“It’s a myth that there is a dormant time in the redistricting world,” said Tim Storey, an elections expert at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “For the past three decades, multiple lawsuits and special sessions devoted to redistricting have been the norm in the middle years of the decade.”
In Virginia, a panel of U.S District Court judges ruled that the commonwealth’s congressional map packed too many African Americans within a single district. The ruling was in keeping with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in March in a racial gerrymandering case (Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama).