A lawsuit filed Monday in Richmond Circuit Court challenges 11 of Virginia’s legislative districts, arguing that they violate the state constitution’s requirement of compactness. The suit, backed by the nonpartisan redistricting reform group OneVirginia2021, challenges six Republican-held districts and five Democrat-held districts. The plaintiffs in the districts include members of both major parties, a tea party activist and members of nonpartisan organizations such as the League of Women Voters. The defendants are the Virginia State Board of Elections; chairman James B. Alcorn; vice chair Clara Belle Wheeler; board secretary Singleton B. McAllister; the state Department of Elections; and Edgardo Cortes, commissioner of the state Department of Elections.
“The General Assembly unlawfully and unnecessarily subordinated compactness to policy considerations that lack constitutional authority,” the 19-page lawsuit says of boundaries legislators drew in 2011 after the 2010 census. “In striving to protect incumbents and gain partisan advantage, the constitutional requirement that every district be compact was rarely, if ever, considered.”
… The suit challenges the boundaries of five House districts: House District 13, represented by Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William; House District 22, Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Bedford; House District 48, Del. Richard C. “Rip” Sullivan, D-Arlington; House District 72, Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico; and House District 88, Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania.