When political parties draw district maps that unfairly benefit their candidates, that result is called gerrymandering. The practice is widespread and centuries-old. Both parties have abused this power—though right now in the United States more Republican-controlled state legislatures are guilty. That includes Virginia. Despite our state shifting from red to purple to increasingly blue over the past two decades, until the November 2018 blue wave, Republicans held a near supermajority even as Democrats won the popular votes. That’s because the map disproportionately packed Democratic voters into a handful of districts, giving Republicans the advantage in all the rest. Even 2018’s nine-point wave left Republicans with a one-seat majority. That’s how powerful gerrymandering is.
Fortunately, things are changing. Virginia is in the process of joining the expanding list of states eliminating gerrymandering. In February 2019, our legislature passed a major new constitutional amendment that will create a carefully balanced process for selecting a redistricting commission to draw fair maps that favor neither party. Our own delegate, Republican Ronnie Campbell, vote for this important change. But the bill has to be passed again after the November 2019 elections before it can become an official amendment. So, our work is not done yet.