Drawing the Party Line: Gerrymandering in Virginia

In 2016, a panel of federal judges redrew the congressional voting districts of Virginia and changed the way that we vote. Since then, multiple challenges have been raised by different congressional representatives and nonprofit organizations. What’s wrong with Virginia districts? Why does redistricting draw so much ire? What can be done about it?

This project looks at the underlying causes and case for redistricting in Virginia through the lens of the 2016 redistricting and the 2017 decision in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections, specifically investigating what the redistricting fixed, what it failed to fix, and what options should be considered moving forward. Virginia poses a particular difficulty for districting due to its demographics and population concentrations in addition to the requirements that districts be compact and contiguous. Several options, such as state constitutional amendments, judicial proceedings, and redistricting committees, have been proposed in the past and warrant examination into effectiveness of each option moving forward into 2017 and beyond.