University of Virginia Tip Sheet: Virginia Redistricting Commission Report Released; Includes Work by U.Va. Demographer

April 13, 2011 – Virginia's General Assembly is in the process of creating new boundaries for the commonwealth's legislative and congressional districts. These districts will be used in elections for the next decade.

Every 10 years, state and national legislative districts must be reapportioned and redrawn after the census to account for population and demographic shifts. The General Assembly is ultimately responsible for redrawing maps and passing them into law with the governor's signature.

This year, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell appointed an Independent Bipartisan Redistricting Commission to make recommendations for redistricting criteria and offer maps drawn according to those criteria. In addition, the commission was charged with bringing the redistricting process to light to enable greater public awareness.

Dustin Cable, a demographer and policy associate at the University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, serves as expert adviser to the commission and helped draft maps for the commission's consideration.

"The maps the commission recommended attempted to make districts compact and to conform to county and city boundaries as much as possible," Cable said. "The ultimate goal was to create districts that make sense to voters, foster democratic participation, and avoid gerrymandering to benefit the narrow interests of incumbent legislators or political parties."

The commission's full report and recommended maps are available online at www.coopercenter.org/demographics/redistricting.

The maps proposed by the General Assembly can be found at the General Assembly's Legislative Services website.

# # #

REPORTERS: For questions or comments regarding the commission's work, contact Steven Jones, commission staff, at 804-201-5174 or smjones2@gmail.com; or Bob Holsworth, commission chairman, at 804-839-8782 or bobholsworth@aol.com. For technical questions about redistricting, contact Dustin Cable at 434-982-3199 or dac2t@virginia.edu.

Media Contact

Rebecca P. Arrington

Assistant Director of Media Relations Office of University Communications