DIRTY MAPS, DIRTY POLITICS – VOTE ‘NO’ ON AMENDMENT 1
PETERSBURG, VA -By now you’ve heard about the amendment on the ballot that would enshrine into our state Constitution the power for politicians to pick their voters instead of voters picking their representatives. There is still time for you to make the right decision, and vote no!
Redistricting happens every 10 years to draw new maps for Congressional, State Senate, and House of Delegates districts. In Virginia, that process has never been about equality, in fact historically it has been used as a tool to effectively dilute the votes of Black and brown communities. This proposed amendment is no different. Since drafting the Virginia Constitution, white lawmakers have restricted the voting ability of Black people and carved out state legislative maps to ensure a lasting political stronghold throughout the Commonwealth.
Amendment 1 is a deeply flawed partisan political power grab that will implement a redistricting process that does nothing to prohibit one political party from having the advantage over another; provides no certainty that the citizen appointees will be geographically, ethnically, age or gender diverse; and is harmful to people of color and other underserved communities in Virginia. By voting ‘No’ and refusing to cement this Amendment into our state Constitution, we can begin to ensure that the power stays with the people and not with power-hungry politicians.
As a voter, the one thing you get when you elect your representative, is responsiveness and accountability, and if you don’t, you can choose not to re-elect them. This Amendment would shift the ability to redraw congressional and state legislative districts from the 140 elected officials of the General Assembly that must be responsive to you, to a 16-member commission selected by House and Senate party leaders. This is not a representative and fair commission. This is, once again, a small group of politicians, with limited accountability, drawing political district boundaries to keep themselves in power while silencing minority voices.
We can’t get clean elections with dirty maps drawn by politicians who are more interested in protecting their seats than ensuring our voices are heard. We need to give the power back to the people, where it always belonged, and remove politicians from the process of drawing political boundaries completely. We can create a commission of concerned voters and experts who can draw fair, compact districts that ensure all Virginians are fairly represented and everyone can make their voice heard equally.
The needs in our communities are more severe than they’ve ever been, and we can’t risk adopting a measure that jeopardizes representation and sets us back decades.
Amendment 1 not only fails to address minority representation on the commission but it also fails to protect against racial and political gerrymandering. Representation for racial and language minorities needs to be enshrined in our Constitution as a critical component of a fair redistricting process.
Amending the Constitution of Virginia is a serious undertaking that should not be taken lightly or rushed through. If we’re going to amend the Constitution, we need to make sure we get it right. Instead of accepting a flawed amendment as the only option, we can go back to the drawing board and ensure that what we are putting in one of our most important documents is fair, just, and equitable. Let’s vote ‘No’ on Amendment 1 and create a better amendment that will give a voice to all Virginia voters. The people of Virginia, not our legislators, should decide who represents us.