Redistricting is a bipartisan problem, but the solution may be nonpartisan.
That was the message panelists stressed at a forum Sunday afternoon in at the Unitarian Church of Norfolk.
Nearly 50 people, including local political candidates and citizens, attended the public forum, which was moderated by Norfolk’s mayor Kenny Alexander.
“It seems that an increasing number of citizens feel that they are no longer represented in our state and local legislature and the proliferation of hyper-gerrymandered districts is often cited as one of the key reasons,” he told the crowd of people.
Lines will be redrawn in 2021, following the 2020 census.
Overly-gerrymandered districts removes competition from elections, and it often hurts the party in power, said Republican State Senator Jill Vogel, who was one of the panelists.
“You want competitive elections where you have an opportunity to have two people who at least each have a basically fair shot at winning an election and what you’re doing when you’re gerrymandering is you’re literally creating districts where the election literally irrelevant,” she said.
She and the other panelists, Brian Cannon, of Virginians for Fair Redistricting and Rebecca Green, professor at William and Mary’s law school talked about different ways to solve the problem. Two ways, they said, are through legislation and the court system.