The U.S. Justice Department has approved Virginia’s legislative maps, passed by the General Assembly last month, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Friday afternoon.
“By issuing a decision in 37 days, the Justice Department has insured that the 2011 state legislative primaries and elections will occur as currently scheduled with little or no complications from the redistricting process,’’ Cuccinelli said in a statement. “That is not only good news for the political parties and candidates, but it is good news for voters in the commonwealth, who will be able to go to the polls focused on the issues of the day rather than issues related to redistricting.”
Virginia is one of 16 states required to submit its plan for review to ensure that the district boundaries do not dilute the power of black voters and violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Cuccinelli chose to not just submit the maps to the Justice Department, but also to the District Court. He told reporters that he filed with the court to ensure the best opportunities for quick review.
Primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 23.
Legislators agreed to new maps in April after Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) vetoed their first bill.
The revised map brings the 140 districts of the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-held House of Delegates into alignment with population shifts found in the 2010 Census.
Northern Virginia would gain a new Senate seat and three new delegates under the plan.