Virginians deserve fair election districts

Published 8:24 pm Friday, February 12, 2016

To the editor:

I happen to live in a House of Delegates district that has gone back and forth between parties in our state races. I never would have expected that as a Virginia voter not knowing the election results months before the race would be an unusual situation.

In November’s election, all of the commonwealth’s incumbents were returned to the General Assembly. Districts have been gerrymandered to assure this outcome by both parties. This is unfair to many voters.

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Elections have been decided by less than one-third of registered voters and by an even smaller percentage in many areas. Our state’s ranking in 2014 was 31st, with 29.1 percent voting.

Many of our General Assembly representatives attribute the gridlock to each party’s extreme candidates. Representatives of both parties point out the peculiarities of their districts’ lines.

One from Northern Virginia told me his district includes part of his county and then three gated communities in another county, where he has very restricted access. Another said he has a small subdivision across the river that is a sure bet, but it is totally different than the majority of his district. There are some districts with split streets.

We need compact districts so entire communities can be represented.

Cynicism and non-participation abound, which is hardly beneficial to our democratic process. Absence of trust and a strong feeling that the system is rigged don’t yield confidence in our governance. It isn’t fair.

We need fair redistricting. There is bipartisan support for this effort. There also has been outrageous sabotage of Senate-passed bills crossing over to the House. But state and congressional districts belong to the citizens of our commonwealth — not to any legislator, political party or special interest.

OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting ( is a coalition of nonpartisan groups that advocates and informs, as well as bringing legal action to challenge our current map. Become engaged and advocate for fair redistricting.

Rubyjean Gould

James City County