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Virginia Supreme Court signs off on new district maps

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Supreme Court officially signed off new district maps, marking the commonwealth’s newest congressional and state legislative districts.

These maps were supposed to be drawn by a bipartisan commission voted on back in 2020. When members couldn’t come to an agreement by its deadline, the court got two special masters - nominated by each party - to draw district lines.

“I think that this was probably a fairer process than what the old process was in Richmond, which was basically that the majority party, if they hold control of the process, will draw the maps for themselves,” UVA Center for Politics Political Analyst Kyle Kondick said.

The new map is affecting Albemarle County: “Fewer districts kind of cut up the region. Albemarle and Charlottesville itself are basically within one district, which is Virginia 5, held by Rep. Republican Bob Good, which is the district that the area is currently in,” Kondick said.

A northern sliver of Albemarle Co. will be in the new 7th District. A draft map showed that district pushed farther north, knocking Representative Abagail Spanberger (D) from her original territory.

The 7th District also includes Greene, Madison, and Orange counties.

Spanberger announced Wednesday, December 29, that she is running for re-election in the 7th District.

Kondick says the new district will be competitive: “That district voted for Joe Biden by about 7 points, but it’s a little less Democratic than the state as a whole. Glenn Younkin also carried it in the most recent election. It’s a better district for Spanberger than the one she currently holds, but’s also a swing district,” he said.

This may not be an end-all-be-all: The Virginia NAACP, which gave input on new district lines protecting Black voters across the commonwealth, is still reviewing the maps.

“We’re also going to be going back and matching these maps and running what we call figurative elections using previous election data to make sure that Black and brown folks have the opportunity to elect people of their choice,” Virginia NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Love said.

Kondik beleives these maps could mean two things going forward: There may be another House of Delegates election, since those elected recently were done under previous lines. It could also mean the commission originally put in place to draw these lines may need to change.

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