The federal court publishes plans for the possible reorganization in Virginia, refusing to delay the trial

RICHMOND – A federal court on Friday evening presented proposals for the establishment of new neighborhoods in the Virginia Chamber of Delegates to repair 11 who were judged to be racist. The 131-page report, prepared by the Californian professor Bernard Grofman, contains several proposals to design new districts that the court will examine before the hearing scheduled for January 10th. Because the redesign of the 11 districts will affect the areas adjacent to them, Grofman told the court that he would have to redesign up to 26 districts. He broke the affected areas of the state into four zones and presented more proposals for each area, obtaining 36 possible combinations of maps. The districts are concentrated around Hampton Roads and Richmond. The control of the state legislature is in balance with the reorganization. The Democrats achieved huge gains last year and nearly wiped out years of a GOP majority, leaving the Republicans with a 51-49 margin in the 100-seat home. It is not clear whether one of the two parties would benefit from the proposals. The 26 affected neighborhoods are now held by a mix of Democrats and Republicans, including some that have been hard fought in 2017. This includes Del's seat. David E. Yancey (R-Newport News), who won the random draw last year after his election ended in a tie with his Democratic opponent. [Nonpartisan redistricting sought in Virginia] Grofman, a political scientist at the University of California at Irvine, was named a "special master" to oversee the reorganization process by a jury of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. That court had established in June that the 11 districts had been drawn up to focus black voters and deprive them of representation. The court gave the General Assembly of Virginia until October 30 to produce a new map, but when lawmakers failed to agree on what Governor Ralph Northam (D) would support, the court appointed Grofman to supervise the process. Residents of 12 districts filed a lawsuit in 2014, represented by the Democratic lawyer Marc Elias. One of the districts was found not to have been gerrymandered, leaving the 11 hour in question. Also on Friday, the court rejected a motion by House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) to delay the primary elections scheduled for next June and to delay the special master's papers until the Supreme Court of the States United has not heard an appeal. The high court agreed last month to resume the matter, but said it was primarily concerned with the question of whether the Republican leadership in the House was able to present the case. [U.S. Supreme Court to take up Virginia case on racial gerrymandering] Friday evening Cox said he was disappointed by both the ruling and the corrective maps proposed by Grofman. "The further development of a corrective map will cause great confusion for candidates, electoral officials and voters, as evidenced by the large number of combinations presented by the Special Master," Cox said via email. "We will examine the special master's report the moment we determine our next steps and we will continue to appeal to the case pending before the US Supreme Court, ultimately we believe that the current map, adopted by a bipartisan majority, will be sustained." The Democrats, on the other hand, welcomed the report. "We are delighted that the district court rejected the last attempt to delay the House Republicans and that the reorganization process continues to move forward," the Executive Director of the Democratic Chamber Caucus, Trevor Southerland, said via e-mail. He also called on the House Republicans to join in support of a constitutional amendment to create an independent and non-partisan reorganization. Grofman said in his report that the suggested maps do not use race as a predominant criterion and try to stick as much as possible to the county and other political boundaries. He said the districts were also attracted to be "blind" for partisan results and claimed that, as far as he knew, no district would have grouped two delegates in office.

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