The Virginia Supreme Court approved the new congressional map for 2022-2032. This process is called Redistricting. 

Every 10 years, district lines are reviewed and redrawn by the Virginia Redistricting Commission following the completion of the United States Census. 

This time around,  the Republicans’ strategy is to map districts that they can easily win with no question. Furthermore, while Democrats could have districts they could easily win, they have decided to control more districts that they will likely win, even if it is not certain.

Often, during this process, congresspeople who are somewhat easily elected do not win re-election or do not run for office because their district demography has changed. This means that the racial and ethnic makeup of the districts have changed. Therefore, voters are likely to elect a different candidate than the incumbent.

For example, this is the case for Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, whose district changed from right-leaning to left-leaning. Therefore, he is not running for re-election and is instead retiring. 

Congresspeople often choose other districts that they are likely to win. However, congresspeople may not run at all if there is not a district they could win.

 It is also required in many places to live in the district you represent. So running for a new district may require a congressperson to move.

One of the largest complaints about redistricting is gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when a particular party draws maps that are beneficial to their electoral chances. In essence, they can choose some of their voters.  The party in power has the privilege of drawing new maps, as long as they are approved by the state supreme court.

Many see this as a threat to democracy because the will of the people is being somewhat trivialized. In fact, many democratic voting right bills limit partisan gerrymandering, including the “For the People Act.”

Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger first won her election for Virginia’s 7th congressional district in 2018 and subsequently won re-election in 2020. However, both races were close.

The new congressional map places Virginia’s 7th district in northern Virginia. Spanberger had a choice: she could run in the district that she would be living in, which would be the first, or she could run for the new 7th district and hope to win there.

Late last month, Spanberger chose to run for the new 7th congressional district. The new maps approved by the supreme court did not give her much of a chance to win in the 1st district. 

Personally, I hope Spanberger can win in the  7th congressional district. While I believe she is too moderate, she is a much better representative than most Republicans. 

 However, it is likely that the district that Godwin High School is in, Virginia’s 1st congressional district, will be represented by Republican Rob Wittman. 

Representative Wittman has represented the 1st district for 15 years and is a reliable Republican vote in congress.  

Another democratic Congresswoman in Va., Eliane Luria of Va’s 2nd congressional district may keep her seat, but the race is considered a toss up.                

It is predicted that Northern Va. will stay fairly progressive. Much of Northern Virginia is represented by Representative Gerry Connoly, who is a member of the progressive caucus. Southwest and Southern Virginia should also stay Republican.

Overall, I believe that redistricting should be entirely non-partisan. The redistricting power should not be placed in the hands of the winning or losing parties. It should be based entirely on population so that citizens are being fairly represented.

The Supreme Court is in charge of approving new maps, but many courts have become very partisan, including our own U.S. Supreme Court.

I sincerely hope that the United States can limit unfair partisan gerrymandering. I feel that citizens’ voices are not being heard because of corruption and power hungry indivuduals. 

Many even say that partisan gerrymandering could affect majorities in Congress. Which, in turn affects the legislation that is considered, and the party that controls the speakership. 

Voting Rights Bills, including the strongest bill, the “For the People Act”, would limit partisan gerrymandering which means that the majorities in congress are much more likely to be decided by the people, instead of which way partisans choose to draw maps in order to advance their political agenda.

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