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Virginia commission scraps regional redistricting maps

September 13, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s new bipartisan redistricting commission says it is scrapping the regional approach it had already begun on drawing new legislative maps and is now directing its map drawers to provide statewide maps next week.

In a statement issued prior to the commission’s Monday meeting, co-chairs Greta Harris and Mackenzie Babichenko said that “we have spent some time assessing where we are and what is ahead, and with the guidance of our legal counsel, have determined the Commission will be shifting gears as we reach the halfway mark.”

The statement cited the commission’s looming deadlines as a major reason for the change. The commission has an Oct. 10 deadline to submit maps for the House of Delegates and state Senate to the General Assembly for approval. The congressional map is due 15 days later.

The commission had already reviewed proposed maps of northern Virginia and its outer suburbs. But two different map drawers — one with Democratic ties and one with Republican — were submitting separate maps, and there was no apparent evidence those disparate maps were being reconciled.

The new plan calls for the map drawers to submit statewide legislative maps on Sept. 20 that will then be scrutinized by the commission.