Regarding the Aug. 3 editorial “ The voters speak up ,” about the Michigan court decision to allow an anti-gerrymandering proposal on the state ballot:
It’s time Virginia voters got the same chance. Unlike Michigan, however, Virginia does not give its citizens initiative power to propose such changes; it requires a constitutional amendment. In Virginia, the path to putting a constitutional amendment before the voters runs through the General Assembly, and the process takes two years. That means the clock is ticking if Virginia voters are to put a stop to gerrymandering before the redistricting that will follow the 2020 Census. The first step — initial approval in the General Assembly — must happen during the legislative session that begins in January. Step two would be a second approval during the 2020 session. That would authorize the final step: letting the people vote by putting the proposal on the November 2020 ballot. In 2021, all
140 General Assembly seats and all congressional seats, of which Virginia now has 11, will be remapped.
Much like the proposal that will be before Michigan voters this November, constitutional amendments have been proposed in Virginia to establish an independent commission to redraw political districts. Such an amendment will be before the assembly again in January.
This time, the assembly must take step one. Lawmakers must be persuaded to allow Virginians to vote on a system that recognizes legislative seats belong to the people, not to either political party. The chance of success will rise every time a General Assembly member hears from a voter: Let the people vote.
Dave Denson, Clifton
The writer is a member of One Virginia 2021.