Thursday, April 28, 2011

Senate redistricting compromise does little to avoid litigation

As discussed with the original Senate Howell plan, the major litigation problem for the plan was the lack of compact and contiguous districts.  As discussed here, here, and here, in my opinion there were five especially egregious districts.

These districts survived through to the conference plan vetoed by the Governor.

For the most part these districts also survived through the "compromise" being considered now. 

Below are three maps reflecting a comparison of the redistricting lines for the five least compact and contiguous districts.
For each map:
The blue lines reflect the conference plan vetoed by the Governor.
The green lines represent the current compromise plan.
When the lines are the same the blue lines cover the green lines.

For Districts 1, 2, and 3.  There are virtually no differences.  District 3 has been tweaked, but not enough to make it remotely compact.

For District 36 substantial changes have been made to the South Western portion of the District, but the major trouble areas have not been changed.

For District 31 it appears to be identical.

Ignoring for the moment the partisan benefits or detriments of either the conference plan vetoed by the Governor or the current compromise, the compromise plan is still an invitation to litigation.

High resolution version of the maps can be found here.

For other redistricting posts, primary sources, and other information regarding the Virginia Redistricting process in 2011 please see The Road to Redistricting Litigation in Virginia.

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