Virginia Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State General Assembly. The Governor can veto the plans.

The General Assembly can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

An Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting exists. Virginia’s General Assembly can adopt the Commission’s plans or adopt its own. The Governor selects every member of the 11-member advisory commission. Five members of each major party must be selected. These Commissioners must not have held elected office in previous five years and cannot be employees of the U.S. Congress or the Virginia General Assembly. The eleventh member, the chair, must not identify with any major political party.

The Commission has the choice to draw its own maps or adopt a publicly proposed plan. The Commission must solicit citizen input and provide citizens access to its processes by holding public meetings and creating a website that allows public comment and interaction. The plan drawn or adopted by the Commission is proposed to the Virginia General Assembly. The Commission is instructed to work free from influence from the executive and legislative branches in Virginia. Any Commission decisions are sent to the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Chairmen of the House and Senate Privileges and Elections Committees, and the Governor. Any decisions or reports are sent before the first day of the next session of the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia’s General Assembly can adopt the commission’s plan or create its own.

Source: Va. Const. art. II, § 6. Va. Exec. Order No. 31 (2011).

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Only the Virginia legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.

Source: Va. Const. art. XII, § 1.

Active Ballot Measures
  • Virginia Senate Joint Resolution 18 (2020)
    • Status - On the ballot
    • Summary - This constitutional amendment proposed by the state General Assembly would give responsibility for legislative and congressional redistricting to a 16-member redistricting commission. The General Assembly would not give up all of its responsibility. The maps passed by the commission would be voted on by the General Assembly. If the General Assembly twice votes against commission maps, responsibility for legislative and congressional redistricting falls to the Virginia Supreme Court. On August 27, 2020, a lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of Virginia challenging the language of the measure.

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