Virginia House of Delegates Redistricting Challenge (Thomas)
Thomas v. Beals
Lawsuit filed in federal court by a Virginia voter against Chairman of the State Board of Elections Robert Brink and Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections Susan Beals challenging the 2021 Virginia House of Delegates election for being held under a redistricting plan that allegedly violates the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff — who originally attempted to intervene in a related case, Goldman v. Brink — argues that the redistricting plan for the Virginia House of Delegates, which was created using 2010 census data, contains malapportioned districts that fail to account for population growth since 2010 and violate the principle of one person, one vote. The plaintiff, who votes in majority-minority House District 71-2011, asserts that his voting strength is diluted under the 2021 redistricting plan since his district is overpopulated. He also claims that he, along with other residents of his district, are underrepresented in the General Assembly, especially relative to voters in less populated districts. The plaintiff requests that the court declare the state’s legislative redistricting plan invalid under Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment since it does not follow the one person, one vote principle. The plaintiff also asks the court to limit the terms of House of Delegates members elected during the 2021 election to one year and to order that a new election be held in 2022 under a new constitutional redistricting plan.
On Aug. 1, the district court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims against the defendants, noting that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue under Article III of the U.S. Constitution and that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide the plaintiff’s claims. Therefore, the case will not proceed and the next election for the Virginia House of Delegates will not take place until its originally scheduled date in 2023.