Whether you supported the Redistricting Amendment or opposed it, Virginia voters approved it, and now it’s time to form that Commission. Eight lucky winners will win a Golden Ticket to join four Democratic legislators and four Republican legislators to draw Virginia’s Congressional, House of Delegates, and Senate districts, updated to reflect new population estimates from the 2020 Census.
Last week the Redistricting Selection Committee (five retired judges, four of whom were selected by the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, and the fifth named by the other four), met to set up some of the ground rules, including what the application will look like, and how to advertise the candidate search. Here’s what the process looks like:
- Monday, November 30th the application will be available on the DLS website.
- All sorts of people from all over Virginia (maybe you?) will hopefully fill out their application, answering the qualifying questions and including a personal statement and three letters of reference.
- Candidates must have been residents of the Commonwealth, registered to vote the last three years, and voted in at least two of the last three general elections.
- Candidates (and their co-habiting family members) may not have sought or held any partisan public office or party office.
- Candidates (and their co-habiting family members) may not be or have been employed by a member of Congress or the General Assembly, nor any federal, state, or local campaign, nor any political party.
- Candidates (and their co-habiting family members) may not be, nor have been in the last five years, a registered lobbyist.
- Applications may be returned by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), faxed to (804) 698-1899, or mailed directly to the Division of Legislative Services, Attn: Selection Committee, 900 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219.
- The deadline to submit an application is Monday, December 28th.
- All completed applications meeting the above qualifications will be forwarded to House Speaker Filler-Corn, House Minority Leader Gilbert, Senate President Lucas, and Senate Minority Leader Norment. Each will select at least 16 candidates, for a total of at least 64, no later than January 1st. (Note that the contents of these applications will be part of the public record, and can be subject to FOIA requests.)
- The Selection Committee mentioned above will select two candidates from each of those four lists. The eight selected will be named to the Redistricting Commission no later than January 15
The candidate lists of the legislators must consider the racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of the Commonwealth, and similarly, the selections of the Selection Committee must ensure the citizen members are as a whole representative of the racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of the Commonwealth.
This is a great opportunity to participate directly in the democratic process. If you’ve ever looked at our crazy-shaped districts and suspected gerrymandering is the culprit, or you’ve ever wondered why you’re in a totally blue area yet represented by a Republican, now is your chance to help make it right! Will you apply?