My latest op-ed appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday. It is quite interesting to me that there has been a slew of applications from Virginia localities to “bail out” of the preclearance rules of The Voting Rights Act this year. So far, five localities have reached agreements with the U.S. Justice Department and another four applications are pending.
The Norfolk City Council held a retreat Monday and Tuesday this week. On the agenda for Tuesday morning was a discussion of redistricting. Norfolk rushed through a redistricting plan earlier this year which basically maintains the status quo and does nothing to move our city towards the day where we, too, can apply for the bailout. As of this writing, we don’t know what was discussed about redistricting at the retreat: there was no live broadcast of it and being as it was held in Smithfield during a normal workday, it was difficult for citizens to attend. And we’ve not gotten a report in the newspaper.
I can only hope that the council considered a change in the process of electing council, something which could be in place in time for the 2014 council elections as I previously outlined. And that would put Norfolk on the path to joining other Virginia localities in proving to DOJ that our voting is free of discrimination.