RICHMOND, V.A. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today released the following statement regarding Amendment 1:
“This election season, I strongly encourage all Virginians to vote ‘NO’ on Amendment 1. This Constitutional Amendment, contrary to perception, does not address gerrymandering and, therefore, does not serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Instead, it would worsen the problem by further consolidating power in a partisan commission and diluting the power of underrepresented and underserved communities. The people of Virginia, not our legislators, should decide who represents us. We do not need to settle for this highly flawed, partisan offering.
Election districts are only redrawn every 10 years in Virginia after the census. It is imperative that we get it right. This election season, we have a choice to make about who is in charge of drawing election redistricting maps for the U.S. House of Representatives, the State Senate, and the House of Delegates.
With Amendment 1, power to draw districts would remain in the hands of a small group of legislators and their hand-picked friends. That is not a recipe for fair and democratic representation. If passed, gerrymandering will essentially be written into the Constitution of Virginia, enshrining the undemocratic process of allowing politicians to choose their voters. Allowing a small group of politicians to determine how people will be represented for the next decade does not benefit Virginians, only those already in power. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around.
Just as troubling, Amendment 1 fails to establish a requirement for the redistricting commission to represent the diversity of our beautiful commonwealth, or indeed any protections for communities of color. For too long, Black and Brown Virginians have borne the brunt of anti-democratic policies pushed in Richmond to reduce the power of our voices. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to expand access to voting and democratic participation, but we can’t stop now. Fair and equitable redistricting reform must be part of that trend and we must reject Amendment 1 to get there.
This is not a representative and fair Commission. By voting ‘No’ and refusing to cement this Amendment into our state constitution, we can begin to ensure that the people, not the politicians, decide who represents us. It is worth the wait to pass an amendment that gives an equal voice to us all, not just an elite few hoping to maintain their positions.
I am committed to true non-partisan redistricting and we must continue to work to achieve it.”