The Supreme Court of Virginia has unanimously appointed two mapmakers to help them draw new legislative and congressional districts.
The justices approved the Republicans special master nominee, Sean Trende. Trende is the senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics, a center-right news site. They also accepted the Democrats’ nominee, Bernard Grofman. Grofman is a political scientist at the University of California, Irvine.
Richmond’s 8News reports:
“The Court directs the Special Masters to confer among themselves to propose a single redistricting map for the Virginia House of Delegates, a single redistricting map for the Senate of Virginia, and a single redistricting map for Virginia’s representatives to the United States House of Representatives,” the justices wrote in an order Friday.
In their order Friday, the justices directed the special masters to present their proposed maps to the court “as soon as reasonably practicable” but they will have 30 days to submit their plans.
Virginia’s political redistricting, a once-a-decade process of redrawing electoral maps with new census data, is now in the hands of the justices after the 16-member commission created by a constitutional amendment failed to get through partisan squabbling to come to an agreement on new political maps.
Under rules adopted by the court, the justices won’t be drawing the new maps themselves but instead will select two special masters by majority vote that have the proper qualifications and experience — one nominated by Democrats, and one put forward by Republicans — to assist in the process.