Graham Moomaw over at Virginia Mercury has the scoop:
After giving the public a glimpse of draft maps for Northern Virginia, the new Virginia Redistricting Commission is dropping its region-by-region approach in favor of statewide proposals expected to be unveiled next week.
The commission’s co-chairs announced the procedural change over the weekend and said at a meeting Monday that the chief concern is a lack of time.
“We were concerned around the timing that is statutorily laid out for us, that we were not going to be able to get through the large swathe of land that makes up the Commonwealth of Virginia in the way we were doing it by regions,” said Greta Harris, the body’s Democratic co-chair. “And because when you do one region it has ripple effects to adjacent regions. After counsel consultation, we’ve decided to try something different.”
Thus far, the maps generated by the commission have been pleasingly compact and free from contagion from elected officials who would prefer to select their constituents rather than have regions select their elected officials.
Many of the difficulties have involved which portions of the Civil Rights Voting Act are still in force, specifically whether minority-majority districts should hold any sort of pre-eminence whatsoever. Democratic attorneys are insistent that they do; Republican attorneys are insisting that maps can and ought to be color-blind.