Richmond, Virginia—Yesterday, the Virginia Redistricting Commission made its first major decision since its formation. On a 10-4 vote, they decided to hire two partisan lawyers to provide guidance throughout the map-drawing process and rejected the idea of seeking out a non-partisan lawyer.
“Virginians voted for a non-partisan community mapping process, but instead they are getting two partisan lawyers arguing with each other about how our communities should be defined ,” Ashleigh Crocker, Communications Director at Progress Virginia, said. “It’s appalling that the Redistricting Commission won’t even consider trying to find a non-partisan lawyer when their goal is to be non-partisan. We the people should be mapping our own future, not two partisan lawyers defining our communities for us.”
In divided vote, Va. Redistricting Commission chooses to hire partisan lawyers [Virginia Mercury, Graham Moomaw]
The Virginia Redistricting Commission rejected an attempt Monday to at least try to hire nonpartisan lawyers, choosing instead to seek two sets of partisan attorneys to advise the new body as it redraws the state’s political districts later this year.
Several citizen members argued that issuing a third, neutral RFP, even if only to gauge interest from firms that could offer nonpartisan advice, would send a signal to Virginia voters that the commission was trying to depoliticize the once-a-decade process of redrawing legislative and congressional districts.