The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion There’s no hypocrisy in wanting to pass good legislation to end gerrymandering

Virginia’s Capitol in Richmond in January.
Virginia’s Capitol in Richmond in January. (Steve Helber/AP)

To answer the question in the headline of the Feb. 8 editorial “Hypocrisy or principle?,” about Virginia Democrats having second thoughts on a constitutional amendment on redistricting reform in the state: I say principle.

The constitutional amendment up this year for a second vote in the General Assembly would not end gerrymandering. Any enabling legislation needed to create fair redistricting could be overturned by future legislatures; the flawed amendment cannot be so easily corrected.

If we trust legislators to pass legislation to end partisan gerrymandering when included with the amendment, why wouldn’t we trust them to just create fair maps in 2021? The editorial said we can count on the federal courts to overturn gerrymandered districts, but that works only for racially gerrymandered districts, not partisan ones.

Let Virginia pass good legislation to end gerrymandering in 2020 and take the time to create a good amendment before 2029 for the 2031 redistricting. No Democrat is saying wait until 2031. We are saying we want to pass good legislation in 2020 and make sure it works before changing our constitution. That’s not hypocrisy; that’s prudence.

Sherry Blanton, Herndon

The writer leads the voting rights group Herndon-Reston Indivisible.

Read more letters to the editor.

Read a letter in response to this one: Want to end gerrymandering in Virginia? Support a constitutional amendment.