Almost 66% of Virginians voted in favor of the constitutional amendment for an independent redistricting commission. (See Ballotpedia link in the Resources Links for the numbers of votes.)
This referendum was on the Nov. 3 ballot after two years of making its way through the General Assembly, following the procedure for amending the Constitution.
The amendment transfers the power to draw congressional and state legislative districts to a 16-member redistricting commission. The General Assembly will still vote on the maps, but will not have the power to alter them. If a map is rejected, the commission would design a new one, and if it’s rejected again, the Virginia Supreme Court would decide instead.
update from VaOurWay
The first week of December, the General Assembly took steps to begin filling positions for the newly minted Virginia Redistricting Commission. As a reminder, the recently adopted constitutional amendment establishes a commission that is made up of sixteen members, eight legislators and eight citizens.
The citizens will be selected through an application process. Applications are now open and will be accepted through Dec. 28, 2020. The legislators named to the commission are charged with reviewing the applications and nominating applicants for review by a five-member panel of retired circuit court judges. This panel then makes final determinations from the nominees. They met once on November 25th to approve the application process and will notify selected candidates in January.
The Retired Judge Panel:
Joanne F. Alper
William C. Andrews III
Larry B. Kirksey
The legislator members were chosen by the leadership of each caucus. Appointees were announced earlier this week and are as follows:
Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax
Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond
Del. Les Adams, R-Chatham
Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland
Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton
Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax
Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg
Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover
Each of these legislators will wield a significant amount of power. Despite clear conflicting interests, this process was designed to foster bipartisan collaboration. However, dissent from even one member will send the decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia who will then appoint experts to create new boundaries.
The full commission will hold its first public meeting by Feb. 1, 2021. From there it will begin making its determinations for legislative districts using the new census data, which will have to be presented to the General Assembly.