Gerrymandering fights aren’t over, as states ready remedies

BY: - July 7, 2019

WASHINGTON – Battles over partisan gerrymandering are poised to shift to the states in the wake of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court dealt a major blow to efforts to combat politicized redistricting when it issued a high-profile 5-4 opinion finding that courts couldn’t settle such disputes. Now, state-level efforts to combat […]

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

After paperwork lapse, senior House Republican asks state board to put him on the ballot

BY: - June 25, 2019

One of the state’s most senior Republican delegates isn’t officially a party nominee for his re-election bid — yet. At Tuesday night’s Board of Elections meeting, attorneys for Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, asked that he be declared the Republican nominee for the 1st House of Delegates District even though his nomination paperwork from a local […]

Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, defended a remedial redistricting proposal that a House panel advanced Thursday on a party-line vote. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 27, 2018)

Redistricting: There’s a better way to do this

BY: - June 19, 2019

Here we are, just a year and a half from the 2021 redistricting in the commonwealth, and Virginia finally has legitimate legislative and congressional maps following the politicized process in 2011. This resolution comes by way of a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week. A 5-4 majority of the justices said the Republican-controlled state House […]

Primary Tuesday: GOP delegate felled from the right; Democratic giant barely fends off progressive hopeful; and Morrissey wins (but not from jail this time)

BY: - June 12, 2019

Scandal-plagued former state Del. Joe Morrissey, who won his last election while serving a jail sentence on a sex charge, toppled a long-serving Democratic senator in Virginia’s primaries Tuesday, which saw upsets — and near upsets — on both sides of the aisle. Voters around the state sent mixed messages, voting out a Republican delegate […]

Do you have a primary to vote in?

BY: - June 11, 2019

It’s primary day, and there are dozens of races across the state to pick official party candidates for the November elections, when all 140 seats in the General Assembly will be on the ballot, among other local races. Virginians need not be a member of party to vote in these races. To find out if […]

Department of Elections will hire more people in response to audit report

BY: - May 14, 2019

The Department of Elections will hire six new employees this summer, which should help address some of the problems identified in an audit last year, officials said. The new positions, funded in the final state budget, represent the “single biggest infusion in new positions to the department as far back as I can remember,” said […]

Northam vetoes ‘only anti-gerrymandering bill to cross his desk,’ senator complains

BY: - May 2, 2019

FLOYD — Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed a pair of redistricting bills, including one to codify criteria for the process and eliminate the practice of splitting localities between legislative districts. Senate Bill 1579 dictated that congressional and state legislative districts, beginning in 2020, were to be drawn according to factors that included equal population, racial […]

Department of Elections holds first expo for voters with disabilities

BY: - April 30, 2019

The Virginia Department of Elections held its first “Voters With Disabilities Engagement Expo” this week to showcase resources for people who need assistance voting. The event is one way to accomplish Gov. Ralph Northam’s goal of expanding voting access, said Deputy Commissioner Jessica Bowman. “It’s important that every Virginian that’s eligible to vote can vote,” […]

U.S. Supreme Court weighs arguments in Virginia’s redistricting case

BY: - March 18, 2019

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided over a high-stakes political gerrymandering case that could affect control of Virginia’s legislature. The justices heard oral arguments Monday in the case of Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, in which the House of Delegates is appealing a lower court’s ruling that 11 districts in Virginia had […]

Gov. Northam appoints a new Board of Elections while considering bill to change its composition

BY: - March 12, 2019

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary. Gov. Ralph Northam appointed a new state Board of Elections while a bill that would change the makeup and responsibilities of the board is on his desk for consideration. Last week, the governor named […]

General registrars will get higher salaries, but will have to wait on a new pay scale

BY: - February 28, 2019

Most days, Charles Garratt is the only person in the Bath County registrar’s office, processing voter registration applications, making sure all the technology is up to date and training other people.  “Back in the days of paper ballots and wooden boxes, there was less to do,” he said. “Now the job is highly technical.” General […]