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This is no ‘technical correction’

Old_New_VaSenate13Senate Republicans pulled a fast one this afternoon with a “technical corrections” bill in which they completely redrew the Senate districts. As this map shows (click to enlarge) the red lines represent the plan that was approved in 2011, after the redistricting. The green lines represent the districts approved by the Senate 20-19.

The power grab by Senate Republicans was well planned:

  • Consideration of HB 259 was “passed by for the day” on every single day of session prior to today
  • Today, one Democrat was missing from session. Senator Henry Marsh attended the inauguration.
  • Why not bring up the bill before? Perhaps because Republicans weren’t sure they could count on Bolling.
  • Seems even Gov. Bob McDonnell was caught by surprise.
  • The new maps? Already loaded into the redistricting website, including the statistical data and the shape files. The images in this post came from there.

CurrentVASenateProposed_VASenate13On this day, when we celebrated the birth of Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Jr., and when we celebrated the inauguration of our re-elected president, Sen. John Watkins stood and proclaimed that we need a sixth minority-majority district, invoking the words of the nation’s first black governor, Doug Wilder.

The maps seem to take out two white Democratic senators: Creigh Deeds in the 25th and George Barker in the 39th.

The irony isn’t lost on me.

This is no “technical corrections” bill. This is a coup.

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8 thoughts on “This is no ‘technical correction’

  1. This does set a scary precedent. I was at a talk given by Justice Scalia once. He was talking about France and their constitution. He described how many constitutions France had because when a party changes power they would rewrite the Constitution to what they want and the bad effects it has had. I see this as going down the same road what is to stop any state from redrawing lines when ever what ever party is in power. This is nothing more then trying to slip what you want through to grab more voters to win districts. It is bad enough that they do so much gerymanddering but now they will flip all around when ever it is convinent. I hope the DOJ looks in to this and stops it.

    • I doubt that DoJ will have any objection to this plan. They’re only concerned with racial discrimination, not partisan politics (at least they’re supposed to be) and this actually creates a NEW majority-minority district (an explicit goal of the Voting Rights Act). It should make no difference to DoJ whether the plan results in fewer Democrats in the Virginia Senate.

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