For Immediate Release: January 30, 2013
Richmond – Virginia New Majority and a coalition of civic groups from around the state turned in nearly 18,500 petitions urging Governor Bob McDonnell to veto a redistricting bill that would essentially hijack our ballot boxes.
“The people of Virginia have spoken. They are interested in preserving their access to fair, representative leadership,” said Rishi Awatramani, Virginia New Majority’s Organizing Director.
“How ironic that on a day that is supposed to celebrate our democracy, steps were taken to make our elections less representative. We should be doing everything in our power to make it easier for the citizens of the Commonwealth to participate in the election process and to ensure that their votes are represented in our government,” said Candace Graham, a Richmond Chapter Leader for Virginia Organizing.
“The right to vote and choose our leaders is at the heart of what it means to be an American. This plan is designed to rig elections so that Virginians have less of a say in who represents them in Richmond. Our elected officials make important decisions about our families and communities. At the very least, we should have the power to elect people who represent our values,” said Anna Scholl, Executive Director of Progress Virginia.
“By some accounts, the changes to Virginia’s legislative districts may affect almost 40 percent of voters in the Commonwealth. More than a technical adjustment, this bill would mean big changes, including packing minorities more tightly in some districts and effectively carving out an additional seat for the party in power,” said Marco A. Grimaldo, CEO and President of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. "Our bottom line is considering how we create a fair and level playing field for elections in the Commonwealth."
Governor McDonnell has not publicly commented on whether he will veto this bill.
“The Governor said the move was ‘very troubling,’” Awatramani added. “We want to make sure his actions match his words. Over 18,000 Virginians signed a petition asking him to strike down this blatantly partisan legislation should it reach his desk.”
“We are watching the House of Delegates very closely and will plan additional actions should this bill pass,” added Awatramani.