The Virginia Supreme Court did on Tuesday what a redistricting commission failed to do when it established new voting districts for the Senate and House of Delegates of Virginia and for Virginia’s representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The redrawing of the political maps occurs every 10 years, but the Commission on Redistricting failed to agree on maps for both Congress and the General Assembly this time, so by law the state Supreme Court took over the responsibility.
Sean Trende and Bernard Grofman, nominated by each political party, were appointed special masters with the task of creating the new maps.
The men submitted a 63-page memo along with the maps stating the new district lines do not favor either party.
“We believe that one reason for employing redistricting commissions, however, is to minimize the power of politicians over the drawing of lines,” the memo said.
According to the court order the final maps were approved, adopted and made effective immediately.
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Martinsville and Henry County are now in two districts instead of three in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Previously, District 14, represented by Danny Marshall (R-Danville), included the southern portions of Henry and Pittsylvania counties and the city of Danville.
District 9, represented by outgoing Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin County) who was defeated in November by Wren Williams (R-Patrick County), included the western portion of Henry County and Patrick and Franklin counties.
District 16, represented by Les Adams (R-Chatham), covered the city of Martinsville and the northern portions of Henry and Pittsylvania counties.
Now, about two-thirds of Henry County, with the exception of the westernmost third, and all of the city of Martinsville along with three-fourths of Pittsylvania County, excluding the southeast quarter and the city of Danville, are in District 48.
The western third of Henry County and all of Patrick, Floyd and Carroll counties are in District 47.
In the State Senate, District 7 is represented by Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County) and included the city of Martinsville along with the counties of Henry and Patrick, parts of Carroll, Franklin, Halifax, and Pittsylvania counties and part of the city of Danville.
The new District 7 still includes Martinsville and Henry and Patrick counties, but now also covers all of Floyd, Carroll, and Greyson counties and about half of Wythe County.
Perhaps the new map that most resembles the old one is the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional District 9, represented by Morgan Griffith (R-Salem).
Previously, District 9 covered the western part of Martinsville and Henry County and then reached to the westernmost part of the state and just north of Salem.
Also, Congressional District 5, represented by Bob Good (R-Evington, previously covered the eastern part of Martinsville and Henry County and then reached four more counties to the east and pushed northward through the Shenandoah Valley and nearly to Washington D.C.
Redistricting cuts District 5 out of the Martinsville and Henry County area and makes all of the western part of the state as far east as Henry County and as far north as Craig County and most of Bedford County under District 9.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 2360. Follow him @billdwyatt.