Federal court will redraw House of Delegates boundaries
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 10/11/2018, 6 a.m.
A federal court will have the task of redrawing the boundaries of 11 state House of Delegates districts that were found to be illegally packed with Democratic-leaning black voters.
The court’s involvement was assured after Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox last week called off an effort to have the General Assembly approve new boundaries after Democratic Gov. Ralph S. Northam promised to veto the plan.
The veto threat led to Speaker Cox’s decision to call off a special session of the legislature later this month to consider a new GOP redistricting plan.
The result is just what Gov. Northam wanted: The General Assembly will fail to meet the Oct. 30 deadline that a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia imposed, allowing the court to create what both sides hope is a more impartial map.
The panel of judges is moving to hire a special master to recommend changes to the 11 House districts and to adjacent districts that also will be affected.
Overall, about 30 House districts could be altered, potentially affecting future control of the legislature after the next General Assembly elections.
The panel wants to have the revamped map in place in time for the 2019 elections that will fill all 100 seats in the House and all 40 seats in the state Senate.
The 11 house districts deemed unconstitutional include five in the Richmond area, including the 63rd, represented by Delegate Lashrecse D. Aird of Petersburg; the 69th, represented by Delegate Betsy B. Carr of Richmond; the 70th, represented by Delegate Delores L. McQuinn of Richmond; the 71st, represented by Delegate Jeff M. Bourne of Richmond; and the 74th, represented by Delegate Lamont Bagby of Henrico County.