Redistricting commission continues to seek congressional compromise

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 8:30 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia’s Redistricting Commission failed to deliver new state maps. Now members are working on congressional districts, and the effort to find common ground remains a challenge.

The commission met Monday morning in Richmond, hearing regional concerns and partisan complaints.

“I am mystified and hugely disappointed to see that you are proposing to split Lynchburg,” said Niro Rasanayagam, a Lynchburg resident who spoke during the public comment period.

The latest map splits Lynchburg between the 5th and 6th congressional districts.

“This does not respect Lynchburg as a community of interest, which we believe was one of the mandates that the commission was working under,” added fellow Lynchburg resident Nichole Sanders.

Click here for earlier stories about the redistricting commission.

The partisan conflict resurfaced when Democrats questioned whether an official of a national Republican redistricting task force had undue influence on the map that commission members are considering.

“I don’t understand how this could happen by coincidence,” said Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax). “I don’t believe it could happen by coincidence.”

“Collusion is a very serious word,” countered Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin Co.). “I don’t believe you can make these accusations based on circumstantial evidence, when the circumstances of that evidence are not even conclusive or persuasive even.”

Despite the exchange. Co-Chair Greta Harris praised the flow of information and declared it a “great day.”

“We’ll keep working. We’ll keep working,” she said as the meeting ended.

The commission has a week to agree on new congressional districts, or the job will fall to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Members will meet again Wednesday.

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