Senators in the chamber’s Republican minority are engaging in a bit of political theater to voice their displeasure with a plan formulated by their Democratic opponents to redistrict the Senate’s 40 seats: It’s a Web site called Howell or Rorschach?
Visitors to the site can review pictures of 30 squiggly, sprawling blotches. They must then decide for each whether the image is a new Senate district proposed by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) or an inkblot off the famous Rorschach psychology test.
It’s a trick question, of course — all 30 images are taken from Howell’s redistricting plan. The point is to lambast Senate Democrats for drawing crazy-looking districts in the interest of protecting incumbents and improving their party’s chances of holding their narrow majority in the Senate. Republicans have circulated an alternative that splits fewer counties and cities.
Of course, those are exactly the same arguments Democrats in the House of Delegates are making about a plan circulated by Republican leaders to redistrict the House. There, Democrats say Del. Chris Jones (R) and House Speaker Bill Howell (R) are preparing to adopt similarly funky lines. And House Democrats have likewise submitted an alternative — a map drawn by students at George Mason University.
Shown the joke Web site, Sen. Howell made the point: “I’m sure they mean House Speaker Howell or Rorschach, don’t they?” she said.