Virginia governor calls for special session on redistricting

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a proclamation calling for a special session to begin next Thursday to redraw state legislative districts that a federal court ruled were unconstitutional. The court gave the legislature until October 30, 2018, to draw new district lines.

Virginia is one of 16 states under divided government. Both the governor’s mansion and the state Senate are controlled by Democrats while the state House is under Republican control.  Virginia is one of 37 states in which legislatures are themselves responsible for drawing state legislative district plans. Under Virginia law, redistricting plans are considered regular statutes and are subject to gubernatorial veto.

Earlier this summer, on June 28, a federal district court ruled 2-1 in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections that 11 state legislative districts had been subject to racial gerrymandering and needed to be redrawn.

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