Due to the Virginia Redistricting Commission’s inability to reach consensus on federal and state election district maps, the Virginia Supreme Court is required by state law to draw the maps. The Supreme Court released proposed federal and state election district maps this week and is accepting public comment on the proposed maps until Monday, December 20, 2021. After the public comment period concludes, the Virginia Supreme Court can choose to accept the maps, reject the maps, or request edits.
The maps propose to include Stafford in the newly created 7th Congressional district at the federal level. In the Virginia House of Delegates, Stafford is proposed to include the 23rd, 64th, and 65th House Districts. And in the Virginia Senate, Stafford is proposed to include the newly created 27th and 29th Senate Districts.
Stafford County anticipates local redistricting will begin after the Virginia Supreme Court adopts federal and states maps. This process ensures compliance with state law requiring all local precincts to be contained within a single congressional, House of Delegates, State Senate, and Local Election District.
How to Comment
Public comments can be made electronically at email@example.com or by participating in one of two virtual public hearings. The Virginia Supreme Court Public Hearings will be held on Wednesday, December 15 and Friday, December 17, both from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Court’s Special Masters will be listening to all comments.
Those wishing to participate must:
- Notify the Clerk of Court prior to the meeting by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating they wish to offer public comment and specifying which date they prefer (December 15 or 17, 2021).
- The email must include the requester’s name and email address and indicate what area of the Commonwealth of Virginia the person resides. In response, a meeting link will be sent by email in advance of the hearing to the email address provided.
- Requests to participate must be received at least 24 hours before the start of the public hearing. The public will be emailed instructions on what to expect and how to participate.
- Individuals will be invited to speak on a first-come, first-served basis based on their sign-in time.
- Individuals will be given an amount of time to provide comment not to exceed three minutes, exclusive of any clarifying questions from members of the Court.
Redistricting is a process required by state law to adjust election district boundaries to adjust for population changes, following the completion of the United States Census every 10 years. COVID-19 heavily impacted data collection for the 2020 Census. The United States Census Bureau did not release census results until August 12, 2021. In Virginia, drafting of congressional and state election district boundaries is the responsibility of the Virginia Redistricting Commission.
As the Virginia Redistricting Commission could not reach a consensus, on November 19, 2021, the Virginia Supreme court selected special masters to draft federal and state maps on behalf of the Court and ordered them to complete the maps within 30 days. The Court chose the two special masters based on recommendations from Republican and Democratic leaders in the Virginia General Assembly. The special masters chosen are Sean P. Trende and Bernard N. Grofman.
For more information, visit https://www.vacourts.gov/news/items/2021_1208_scv_press_release_redistricting.pdf.