ELECTIONS AND VOTING

Va. Redistricting Commission approves neutrality rule, deadlocks on use of race

BY: - September 15, 2021

The Virginia Redistricting Commission voted Wednesday to formally instruct its map-drawers not to look at political data or information showing where incumbents live as they draw new General Assembly and congressional districts. The bipartisan panel’s unanimous vote represents a formal commitment to the fairer process voters envisioned when they approved the commission last year. It’s […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in U.S. Senate, with Manchin on board

BY: - September 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of […]

Co-chairs Greta Harris (left) and Mackenzie Babichenko (right) preside over an Aug. 3 meeting of the Virginia Redistricting Commission. (Photo by Ned Oliver)

Redistricting Commission drops region-by-region approach, expects statewide maps Sept. 20

BY: - September 13, 2021

After giving the public a glimpse of draft maps for Northern Virginia, the new Virginia Redistricting Commission is dropping its region-by-region approach in favor of statewide proposals expected to be unveiled next week. The commission’s co-chairs announced the procedural change over the weekend and said at a meeting Monday that the chief concern is a […]

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Campaign funds can be used for child care, Virginia AG says

BY: - September 10, 2021

Attorney General Mark Herring says political candidates in Virginia can use campaign funds to pay campaign-related child care expenses, an opinion that puts the state in alignment with federal election rules but has little immediate impact due to the state’s anything-goes campaign finance system. “Virginia’s campaign finance statutes allow for the use of campaign funds […]

COMMENTARY

Hey incumbents, the General Assembly will survive without you

BY: - September 10, 2021

George Barker may have thought he was in the clear. The state senator from Northern Virginia was the chief sponsor of his chamber’s bill to hold a voter referendum last year to start a redistricting commission. Citizens approved the plan by a large margin. Surely the Fairfax County Democrat, in the Senate since 2008, would find smooth […]

Incumbent protection remains flashpoint as Virginia senator tries to draw his own district lines

BY: - September 9, 2021

Stopping legislators from drawing their own districts was the main rallying cry behind the new Virginia Redistricting Commission voters approved last year. But one legislator is trying to do just that in full public view from his perch on the commission. A week after noting a consultant-drawn draft map would push him out of his […]

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission has its first draft maps. They look… normal?

BY: - September 2, 2021

The Virginia Redistricting Commission got its first look at draft General Assembly maps Thursday as consultants delivered proposals for part of Northern Virginia with districts that look far more normally shaped than the ones that exist now. A pair of consultants drew their proposed House of Delegates and Senate districts from scratch, following the guidance […]

COMMENTARY
The Virginia Redistricting Commission holds its first in-person meeting Tuesday. (Virginia Mercury)

A glimmer of hope emerges from Redistricting Commission

BY: - August 25, 2021

Anti-good government types may have been emboldened last week when panelists met to discuss redrawing Virginia’s political maps. Efforts to improve the redistricting process, so residents have a greater say in who’s representing them — not vice-versa — had taken a beating.  It’s the first time a new 16-member commission, composed of eight citizens and […]

Virginians don’t have to show ID to vote anymore. Data shows almost everyone still does.

BY: - August 23, 2021

Virginia’s laws have changed in many ways to make voting easier, but all voters are still asked to verify who they are when they go to the polls. For most people, that means pulling out a driver’s license just like they did before the state changed last year to no longer require photo IDs. For […]

Virginia spending plan includes $1.5M for voter education and fighting misinformation

BY: - August 10, 2021

Virginians will be hearing more from the state on how elections work after the General Assembly budgeted $1.5 million for voter outreach and fighting “misinformation” about state elections. Asked for more detail on how the money will be used, Elections Commissioner Chris Piper offered a general overview and said more specifics will be made public […]

Trump allies’ lingering election ‘audits’ spark public skepticism, concerns in Congress

BY: - August 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — The months-long, Republican-led investigation in Arizona into the results of last year’s presidential election has cost millions of dollars and produced no evidence yet of major issues in tallying Maricopa County ballots. Yet supporters of former President Donald Trump are still attempting to follow Arizona’s lead by pushing for so-called audits in several […]

COMMENTARY

Virginia Democrats don’t look serious about campaign finance reform

BY: - August 2, 2021

Imagine my shock at reading a Virginia Mercury story that a joint legislative subcommittee empaneled to study reforming Virginia’s half-century-old, anything-goes political finance law was off to a crawling start. (For those who don’t know that I am a hopeless smart-ass, the preceding paragraph was meant to drip with sarcasm.) As one of just 11 […]