Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unfortunate Virginia Congressional gerrymander, may also invite Voting Rights Act challenge

News outlets are reporting that there will be at least some alternative offered in opposition to the Virginia Congressional redistricting plan expected to have broad bipartisan support.  The alternative plan is allegedly going to be offered in part by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to create not only one majority-minority district but also a "minority influence" district.

Under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act it is difficult to justify not creating additional majority minority districts, if they can be created from cohesive communities.  On the other hand, under more recent case law, potential "minority influence" districts are not given much deference under the Voting Rights Act.  (This is the case law referenced in my redistricting update from a few days ago. I will develop this case law in a future post.)

Although this new plan may not serve as the background for a successful lawsuit, all Virginians are served by the opportunity to consider additional options.  I look forward to reviewing the plan, and hope it makes some of the heavily gerrymandered districts more compact.

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.


  1. The irony is that the majority-minority district is the most gerrymandered part of the plan. To make another majority-minority district would be even more gerrymandered.

  2. I think the purpose of the suggested alternative plan is to lay the groundwork for litigation under the Voting Rights Act. It would be quite humorous if the competing plan resulted in a violation of other legal requirements.

  3. I think you're right about the challenge based on the Voting Rights Act.

    These Voting Rights Act districts are the most warped districts. :)