Redistricting could explode as the top — and most heated — issue the next governor and General Assembly will face early next year, Virginia’s leading campaigner for reform said at a panel hosted by Peninsula Voices for Change. About 30 people attended the panel at Tabb Library Wednesday evening to discuss gerrymandering and redistricting in Virginia. Two Virginia cases working their way through state and federal courts and a Wisconsin case headed for the U.S. Supreme Court could mean “2018 will be a big year for redistricting,” said panelist Brian Cannon, executive director of the One Virginia 2021 advocacy group. “I think the next governor will have this on his desk,” Cannon said, adding that he thinks sooner or later Virginia will move toward an independent commission to draw House of Delegates, state Senate and congressional districts.
One key gain would be to open the whole process, which usually works to protect incumbents, to public scrutiny, he said, noting that the work the General Assembly’s consultants do to draw lines is shielded under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act.
Panelist Quentin Kidd, director of Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy, said taking the process out of the hands of politicians probably wouldn’t end Republican control of the House of Delegates, thought it would reduce their majority to about 55 seats. The state Senate would probably remain fairly evenly divided.
Full Article: Virginia hurt by gerrymandering, panelists say – Daily Press.