A Virginia author has filed a new lawsuit seeking to force all 100 members of the state’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates to face an unscheduled election this year.
Author Jeff Thomas, who has written extensively about Virginia politics and government, has filed this new lawsuit on Wednesday, two days after a three-judge panel dismissed a similar lawsuit filed a year ago by Democratic Party activist Paul Goldman. Goldman’s lawsuit argued that House members elected for two-year terms in November 2021 must run again in 2022 under newly redrawn maps that properly align legislative districts with population shifts.
CBS reports that, oer the lawsuit, the 2021 elections were supposed to be the first held under constitutionally required redistricting based on the 2020 census. But because census results were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state held elections under the old legislative boundaries. The new maps were not finalized until December, a month after the elections were held.
Goldman’s lawsuit was dismissed on technical grounds. The judges ruled he did not have standing as a voter or a potential candidate. In his lawsuit, Thomas argues that he and the other voters in his Richmond-area district have had their voting strength and political representation “unconstitutionally diluted or weakened” by the state’s failure to complete redistricting before the 2021 elections.
“Plaintiff respectfully submits that there are no facts actually in dispute in this case … and that the facts giving rise to this case would never have come to pass if there were attorneys independently representing the people beyond the reach of politics,” Thomas states in the lawsuit.
Thomas also alleges that Attorney General Jason Miyares and former Attorney General Mark Herring have both attempted to “moot this matter through delay.”
Miyares has previously said the 2021 elections were “legal and constitutional.” A spokesperson for Miyares did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Given how the previous lawsuit was dismissed, I wouldn’t advise Mr. Thomas to hold his breath, as it is unlikely that this lawsuit will fare any better than the last one, and Miyares will continue to be Virginia’s Attorney General.