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“Shame on Virginia Senators for trying to intentionally mislead Virginia voters about Gerrymander Amendment on ballot this fall”

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by Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria/Arlington)

Shame on Virginia Senators for trying to intentionally mislead Virginia voters about Gerrymander Amendment on ballot this fall.

They claim a “yes” vote makes a bipartisan commission responsible for the “initial” drawing of election districts.

But they don’t say what happens afterward: that the commission’s work — citizen panels, transparency, the entire illusion of fairness — will be unceremoniously trashed upon the objection of just two delegates or senators.

At that point, a “yes” vote means that a Republican-appointed panel can then gerrymander Virginia without any limit, guardrails, or appeal to any court or legislature in the land.

The people of Virginia will be permanently disabled from EVER stopping ANY future gerrymander for eternity (since the legislature appoints the court that chooses the legislators).

Don’t you think voters should know that?

The Senate panel claims that a “no” vote will leave the sole responsibility for drawing the districts with the General Assembly.

But that’s not true either. In the event of a “no” vote, the General Assembly can — and almost certainly will — require an independent commission without the Republican Poison Pill in it to determine the districts.

How do I know this? Because virtually all Democrats are on record supporting such an independent commission with strict criteria to keep it fair. And Republicans would prefer an independent commission over a Democratic gerrymander. If the Amendment fails, this 2021 solution will likely pass both bodies unanimously.

The Senate supports deception through omission. They don’t tell voters the entire story.

Kind of like saying, “this ice cream is really good” without happening to mention the arsenic in it. True, perhaps, that the ice cream is tasty but irrelevant to what really matters.

We need ACCURATE language on the ballot.

Virginians need to understand that if they give permanent power to a Republican-appointed panel to redraw Virginia districts, voters may NEVER get an ungerrymandered Virginia map ever again.

Otherwise, when it happens, what will Senate Democrats say, “Oops! We misled you. Guess we got a massive gerrymander after all!”

Voters are smart enough to make this decision if we don’t deceive them through omission. Tell them about the ice cream AND the arsenic. Let voters decide whether to eat them both together…