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Petitions Opposing Redistricting Delivered to Gov. McDonnell - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Petitions Opposing Redistricting Delivered to Gov. McDonnell

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Thousands of petitions opposing a surprise redistricting move in the Virginia Senate last week are now in the hands of Governor Bob McDonnell.

Activist groups, led by Virginia New Majority and including Charlottesville-based Virginia Organizing, delivered 18,000 signatures to the Governor's office Wednesday morning. They vehemently oppose a surprise move last Monday by Senate Republicans to pass major state Senate district changes.

Republicans say the off-year redistricting plan will protect the commonwealth from litigation under the Voting Rights Act, and create a new Senate district in the southern part of the state with a majority of minority voters. Democratic opponents say it is designed to decrease the amount of minority voters in other districts and increase GOP influence. Senator Donald McEachin, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, called the measure "plantation politics."

Governor McDonnell has yet to take a direct position on the bill. In a statement last week, McDonnell Communications Director Tucker Martin said, "The governor was very surprised to learn that a redistricting bill would be voted on by the Senate today. He has not seen this legislation. If the bill gets to his desk he will review it in great detail at that time as he did with prior redistricting legislation."

The bill has been passed by in the House of Delegates several days in a row, but could be taken up as early as Thursday. House Republicans say they are in the process of reviewing the Senate amendments.

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