Redistricting open thread

The maps are available here. VPAP has some interesting graphics on party performance here and here. The Virginian-Pilot also has maps here.

First thing that popped into my head, after looking at the maps, was that the Republicans are better than the Democrats at partisan redistricting. If you’re going to engage in it, do for the benefit of the party as opposed to the benefit of individuals, as a former Republican delegate from Virginia Beach once told me.

Second thing is while I still have Ralph Northam as my Senator, the split of constituents in the soon-to-be-gone 87th House district means that I’m now in the 83rd, with Chris Stolle as my delegate. While not unexpected, I was hoping for Lynnwood Lewis in the 100th. (Click on map to enlarge – old districts are outlined in blue, new districts in green.)

Finally, while I doubt they are going to listen to the citizens – since they have shown little propensity to do so to this point – I’m going to try to attend the Hampton Roads House and Senate P&E Committees’ public hearing Thursday night. It will be held at 7pm at Hampton University – Student Center Ballroom, 135 Marshall Avenue, Hampton, VA 23668.

21 thoughts on “Redistricting open thread

  1. The number of split precincts is absolutely astounding. I’m still working out a final count, but I just can’t believe this is the best they can do. I understand the need to play partisan politics, but there has to be a simpler way to screw the other party than this.

    1. The House Republicans went hog wild with precinct splits in 2001, and they appear to be worse this time (although Norfolk is slightly better). The 27th House district, a safe GOP seat entirely within safely GOP Chesterfield County, has 8, count ’em, 8 precinct splits. That’s not gerrymandering; it’s sloppiness.

      What I suspect is happening is that they’re letting their software draw the lines, and it’s swapping blocks back and forth to balance the numbers within their 1% variance. And then, no human being is reviewing the results and cleaning up the mess. Either that, or they’re drawing the lines on census tract boundaries, and the tract lines don’t quite match the precinct lines. Either way, it’s pretty careless.

  2. All of the maps, House, senate, d, r, stink. I am going to try to go to the meeting on thursday (I live about a mile from there), but doubt that the meeting will be more than window dressing.

    Did anybody think about the use of influence districts instead of all Maj-minority for VRA compliance. Would that pass the threshold? If it did, it seems like it would make drawing more compact districts easier for the ds.

  3. I think the hearing is going to be window-dressing, yes. And this is pretty much a done deal. But I’m hoping that what comes out of this is an awakening of the citizenry.

    Yes, I’m hopelessly optimistic on that count.

  4. Another point about precinct splits is that Norfolk State is going to have to deal with the 89th/90th HD split of Brambleton precinct, where most of the university’s dormitories are located. In 2008 NSU brought in a voting rights lawyer from New York and complained to the registrar because she rejected registration applications from students who only gave the university mailroom as an address. That may not have had an impact in that election, but now students who live in different dorms will get different ballots, in odd-numbered years at least. I hope NSU takes this into account when looking out for their students as voters.

    1. Abbott was a low blow, but I have a hard time seeing how Miller was going to survive using partisan politics or not.

      Just given where her house is and the realities of how much the 100th needed to gain, she would have had a hard time surviving under a Democratic house without some even more egregious gerrymandering than the Republicans already did. As far as I can tell, they would have either had to redraw the 100th into Virgina Beach by the tunnel or draw the district to encircle her precinct almost entirely and even then, she would probably have ended up in Stolle’s district and still lost.

  5. Last night I reviewed the maps and I was particularly interested in Ward 5 precincts. One thing that really surprised me is that the 7th Senate District comes into Norfolk. The precincts of Azalea Garden, Little Creek and half of Tarrallton have been drawn into the 7th Senate District. However, the 6th Senate District still has one precinct in Virginia Beach. Any thoughts of why this was done?

      1. SD 6 could have been linked to the Shore with water blocks, the way HD 100 is. The Senate gave SD 6 the Chesapeake Beach precinct in 2001 and I guess they felt it necessary to stick with it.

        The reason for extending SD 7 to Little Creek and Tarrallton, of course, was to pack Republicans into it and make life easier for Ralph. I’m not quite sure why Tarrallton was split, unless it was to get the district size within limits.

  6. Has anyone looked at the bipartisan commission redistricting plan? It seems to create a 13th Majority-minority HOD district in Suffolk. This seat seems to be at the expense Barlow, which places Chris Jones in the 64th (against Delegate Barlow). Is anyone in the Legislative Black Caucus pushing for this one? Besides, Barlow’s seat is good as gone to republicans under the plan presented by the HOD yesterday, it might be worth exploring. Just have Chris Jones run in the district.

  7. I don’t thi9nk these redistricting plans are awful…just typical.
    Redistricting never reflects well on anybody in the legislature.

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