Great news from another large, local Virginia Democratic committee, with the Prince William County Democrats voting by an *overwhelming* 87%-13% margin to recommend a NO vote on the redistricting amendment on their sample ballot. The Prince William County Democrats join the Arlington County Democrats (79%-20% against the amendment) and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, voting 77%-16%. Let’s hope all the other local Democratic committees weigh in shortly as well. With that, see below for a Facebook post by Del. Mark Levine on this excellent news!
Congratulations to Prince William County Democrats last night. After a long discussion, they voted 87% to 13% to put NO ON Amendment 1 on their sample ballot.
Democratic Party of Virginia 86% NO
Fairfax County Democrats 83% NO
Arlington County Democrats 79% NO
But however you slice it, Democrats all across the Commonwealth are developing a clear consensus to oppose enshrining partisan gerrymandering in the Virginia Constitution. They agree with Linda Perriello, former Chair of OneVirginia2021 that accepting a party-controlled partisan advisory commission which can gerrymander Virginia (with a poison pill that allows only Republicans to draw the lines) is not reform. It’s moving backwards. We need a true independent binding commission that prohibits gerrymandering by either party. Let’s have fair districts so the voters choose their representatives and not the other way around!
A ban on gerrymandering is current law as of July 2020. Now Is NOT the time to pass a Constitutional amendment to undo our hard work.
It’s time the Alexandria Democratic Committee steps up. Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William Democratic Committees have all brought the issue to their members for a full and fair debate. But sadly, we haven’t done that in my hometown. We, unlike our sister committees, are saddled down by archaic by-laws, which din’t contemplate COVID and therefore prevent us from voting on resolutions unless we meet in public, which we can’t do easily, due to COVID-19. (We can change our bylaws with a quick public outdoor meeting in the park, which I recommend. We can meet in Fort Ward with masks and social distance and do it in 10 minutes.)
But there is another answer. Since Alexandria, unlike many other local Democratic Committees, unfortunately lacks the power to vote on resolutions, the Democratic Party of Virginia is coming to the rescue. This Is particularly necessary given the pandemic.
Today, the DPVA is voting in its resolutions committee to unify Democrats throughout Virginia by taking the overwhelming consensus agreed to by 80-20 margins in all our local parties and establishing the NO vote on the sample ballot for all local Democratic parties. Since the Alexandria Democratic Committee and some other local committees are powerless due to the pandemic to act on our own, let’s all encourage the State Party (Democratic Party of Virginia) to put vote NO on Amendment 1 on ballots statewide. Please write them and encourage them to do so. The vote is today at 5 pm.
Due to the COVID emergency, this is the only way a NO vote can be done in time for the Alexandria Democratic sample ballot and for the sample ballot of other localities saddled down by archaic by-laws like ours. Please contact Clarence Tong, Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee or your local party chair where you live and encourage her or him to support the state resolution to put NO on your local Democratic Party’s sample ballot.
Some party leaders, themselves opposed to the amendment, are reluctant to support the statewide mandate. Whether or not the State Party should mandate what local parties do when there’s not a pandemic is an interesting academic question on which I can see both sides. But this sets no precedent. COVID Is an emergency. The State Party Is merely mandating what local parties like Alexandria’s would do if we had the power to act on our own. It’s what our surrounding jurisdictions have done, and I’m confident it’s what we would do if our bylaws, like theirs, also allowed us a free and fair debate and vote.
We’ve worked too hard to achieve a Democratic majority to lose it to partisan Republican gerrymandering permanently enshrined in the Virginia Constitution.
Vote NO on Gerrymandering.
Vote NO on Amendment 1.
The YES ON 1 campaign has the full support of the Virginia Republican Party which, according to its leaders, sees it as their key to taking back Virginia even when after they lose statewide elections. (In 2017, the Republicans gained a majority of seats in the House of Delegates even though they lost 55%-45% statewide.) This deceptive gerrymandering scheme also has the support of millions of dollars donated from a Texas Enron billionaire hedge fund owner.
We — the NO on 1 folks — are a grassroots group. We are financially overwhelmed, but the truth is on our side. We, like Linda Perriello, demand an non-partisan independent commission implement the new no-gerrymandering law to allow fair maps once and for all.
If you want to contribute to help us explain to Virginians why this tricky and deceptive measure cobbled together at the last minute (by Republican Delegate Mark Cole placing a sneaky poison pill in it on the last day of the 2019 session) may look like reform but is actually a dramatic step backwards, please donate to Fair Districts Virginia by clicking below: