Virginia Prison Gerrymandering
Adkins v. Virginia Redistricting Commission
Lawsuit filed by a Virginia state Sen. T. Travis Hackworth (R) and individual voters challenging the passage of new redistricting laws in Virginia. Virginia recently amended its constitution to give redistricting power to a bipartisan redistricting committee. The mandamus petition to the Virginia Supreme Court argues that, while the Virginia Redistricting Commission was created properly through a state constitutional amendment, other new redistricting criteria was not passed through a referendum and constitutional amendment, therefore violating the state constitution. In particular, the petitioners challenge how the state will now count prisoners in drawing districts, arguing that counting prisoners at their last known address (as opposed to the prison in which they are incarcerated) will dilute the voting power of Republicans in rural Virginia. The petitioners ask the court to prohibit the Commission from using the new redistricting laws to draw maps. The Virginia Supreme Court denied the petition, finding that the extraordinary relief the petitioners sought was not warranted.