Redistricting should prioritize voters’ voices, not reelection
Richmond, VA—In a court filing yesterday, House Speaker Kirk Cox laid bare his true motivations when it comes to drawing political district boundaries: electing and reelecting Republicans. A federal court ruling in Bethune Hill v. Virginia found politicians had purposefully diluted the voting power of Black Virginians by packing them into 11 legislative districts. Cox told the court Wednesday that his priorities in evaluating any redistricting plan include, “avoid[ing] pairing any incumbents (Republican or Democratic)” and “avoid[ing] substantially altering the partisan makeup of any competitive House districts.”
“Speaker Cox has laid bare his true priority when it comes to redistricting: saving his own hide,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “The court has declared that politicians discriminated against Black Virginians when they drew political district lines designed to protect a GOP majority in the House of Delegates. Now, instead of focusing on ensuring every Virginian, whether black, brown, or white, has an equal voice in our democracy, Cox and his caucus are focused on their political careers.”
“The only people who care if two politicians are drawn into the same district are politicians,” continued Scholl. “Newsflash: this isn’t about you. It’s supposed to be about the voters. Maybe if the GOP worked a little harder on actually representing the interests of their constituents they wouldn’t have to spend so much time trying to rig the next election so they can’t lose.”
In 2018, Governor Northam vetoed a redistricting “reform” bill sponsored by GOP appropriations chairman Chris Jones because the bill failed to provide protections for communities of color while also refusing to prohibit the use of partisan political data.