Gov. Northam vows to veto new Republican redistricting plan
Jeremy Lazarus | 10/4/2018, 6 a.m.
That’s Democratic Gov. Ralph S. Northam’s response to a new Republican plan to redistrict the Virginia House of Delegates and overcome a court finding that the current plan illegally packs Democratic-leaning African-American voters into 11 districts.
“I will veto” the proposed plan if it is approved by the House of Delegates and state Senate, the governor announced Tuesday, telling the legislature he wants the federal court that found the current plan unconstitutional to redraw the districts to make them legal.
Gov. Northam issued his statement after a Republican-dominated House committee approved a new version of the plan and sent it to the full House for consideration. At least three Democrats in the 100-member House announced they would break ranks and join the 50 Republicans to pass it.
However, the governor joined the Democratic majority, who have the votes to uphold his veto, in calling the proposed plan a rejection product.
An override to a gubernatorial veto requires 67 votes. With the House split 50-49 with one vacancy, the GOP has no chance to reach that number.
Gov. Northam stated that the “nature of the proceedings in the House Privileges and Elections Committee reinforced my belief that this partisan process should not continue and that the federal court is best positioned to construct a remedial districting plan.”
In the governor’s view, the court is poised to deliver “fair and constitutional lines in time for the June 2019 primaries.”
“I have championed nonpartisan redistricting from my first campaign for public office in 2007,” Gov. Northam continued, as he urged the House and Senate to take up previously rejected proposals to improve redistricting fairness and to protect racial minorities that he advanced last session.