Andrew Clem home
Andrew Clem banner

Blog post

Monthly archives
(all categories)

February 17, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Redistricting bill fails again

To my great chagrin, a subcommittee in Virginia's House of Delegates voted against a redistricting bill that had passed the Senate nearly unanimously. It has become an annual ritual, with the lower chamber repeatedly turning down the initiatives. House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith justified the Republican caucus's opposition to this measure by saying "As long as you have human beings doing the job, there will be partisanship involved." See

Well, it is certainly true that no human being is totally immune from various biases, but that does not mean that proper means to mitigate partisanship can't be devised. The way things stand, legislators redraw district lines to protect their incumbent status, making elections less competitive and therefore less interesting to voters, which in turn results in less citizen involvement in state government, which allows special interests to wield greater power. It's a shame that the Republican-led House wasted yet another opportunity for reforming state government, and if they lose their majority status in the elections this fall, they will come to regret handing that much more power over to the Democrats.

Reforming the redistricting process has long been an issue very near and dear to my heart, and I will have more to say about this in the future. Professor Mark Rush of Washington and Lee University has studied this issue in considerable depth, and has taught an experimental course on the subject.

UPDATE: The AP story in Wednesday's News Leader quoted Del. Shannon Valentine (D-Lynchburg), who said that the current practice of redistricting has caused the divide between parties to become more entrenched, thereby discouraging legislative cooperation. "We have created districts that are so polarized that we don't have to listen to each other and we don't have to work together." (She was a sponsor of the House version of the redistricting bill.) That's another good reason to depoliticize the process, but it is unclear why that pernicious effect would be stronger the House of Delegates more than the state Senate, which is less prone to partisan bickering.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 18 Feb 2009, 5: 54 PM

(unformatted URL)

This post is over a week old, so comments are closed.

© Andrew G. Clem. All rights reserved. Your use of this material signifies your acceptance of the Terms of use.

Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:

Category archives:
(all years)

This (or that) year's
blog highlights

Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

  1. Wild birds (LAST)
  2. War
  3. Science & Technology
  4. Politics
  5. Latin America
  6. Culture & Travel
  7. Canaries ("Home birds")
  8. Baseball (FIRST)