Virginia's First Experiment in Non-Partisan Redistricting: Demographic Analysis and Perspectives

Dustin A. Cable, University of Virginia

For the first time in Virginia’s history, an independent bipartisan advisory commission was established to provide recommendations for redistricting Virginia’s congressional and state legislative seats. Selected by Governor Bob McDonnell, commission members appointed myself, a professional demographer from the University of Virginia, to advise them on demographic trends and draw the new district maps. The following paper is an objective evaluation of the maps I drew for the commission, among others, against the final maps passed by the state legislature. The paper was originally presented to Governor McDonnell on April 12, 2011 as an attempt to show statistics on each redistricting plan and convince the governor to veto the state legislature maps. He did so on April 15. However, the commission’s non-partisan maps for state legislative districts were ultimately not used and the partisan maps drawn by the state legislature were recently approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Presented in Session 36: Demographic Issues in Redistricting