Virginia redistricting commission misses deadline to redraw state house, senate lines

Virginia's bipartisan redistricting commission has blown a deadline to redraw the lines for state house and senate seats after several commissioners stormed out of a meeting Friday.

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Negotiations crumbled at the meeting as the commission failed to agree on where to even begin. The commission was supposed to propose new state house and senate districts to the general assembly by Sunday, Oct. 10.

However, that deadline passed just 48 hours after several democrats left the redistricting meeting when republicans rejected their proposal for a compromise.

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"Regrettably, I am done. So thank you so much for the opportunity to serve, but I will remove myself from the commission at this point," commission co-chair Greta Harris said at the meeting.

The commission's work will determine who represents Virginia residents at the federal and state level on debates about healthcare, access to education, vaccine mandates and more.

The 16-member commission is evenly split between democrats and republicans. Its charge is to take public testimony and propose new district lines to the general assembly for both state houses and congressional seats based on the 2020 census data.

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"You can't take the politics out of politics," says University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato. "I don't blame the commissioners really because they're simply defending the interest of the party that appointed them or elected them." 

"I like that. I like the fact that you can see everything. Even all the ugly scars," VCU political science professor Alex Keena says. "It doesn't look particularly great right now, but it's better than being left completely out of the process." 

Commissioner Harris told FOX 5 the commission is not speaking to the media outside of public meetings at this time.

None of the other commissioners responded to FOX 5's request for comment.


The commission has a 14-day grace period to submit their proposed maps to the general assembly for approval. If they fail to meet that second deadline, the Virginia Supreme Court will be responsible for drawing the new district maps for Virginia's house and senate seats.