Justin Levitt, a former Obama administration Justice Department official**
**This amendment requires adherence to the Voting Rights Act … and then goes beyond. The VRA has been severely cut back by federal courts in recent years. The amendment establishes a state constitutional mandate with independent strength however the federal statute is construed.
Dr. Sam Wang, Princeton Gerrymandering Project**
**In 2020, the home of the United States’ first gerrymander will become the home of its solution. It requires them to do something they normally don’t like to do — give up some of their power. But if they do it right, they can protect minority communities, give citizens a direct voice in redistricting and set an example for the nation in how to draw fair districts.
Professors Alex Keena, Michael Gilbert, Rebecca Green, Elliott Fullmer, Nicholas Goedert, Deborah Hellman, David Massee, Jr., Roy and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan, A. E. Dick Howard**
**If the General Assembly approves this amendment and sends it to the voters for final blessing, it will set an exemplary precedent, showing that well-meaning politicians really will sacrifice some power to improve the quality of the election system.
[Roger Chesley, Virginia Mercury]()
The referendum before voters…(is) decidedly fairer than what’s in place now. It should produce candidates who have to truly listen to their constituents.
Former chief Congressional counsel, Bobby Vassar
In his last State of the Union Address, President Obama said that America had ‘to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around,’ and that state legislatures should ‘let a bipartisan group do it.’ Right now, we have the opportunity to do just that and end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia once and for all. Let’s heed President Obama’s call. Because it’s not about politics, it’s about fairness.
Emerge Virginia Founder and Former Chief of Staff to Senator Joe Biden, Susan S. Platt
Comprehensive redistricting reform would make history… It’s a matter of fundamental fairness and ensuring that every vote counts equally under Virginia law. In many ways, that is what the modern Democratic Party has always stood for, and I would remind any lawmaker from my side of the aisle to remember that as they consider this reform package. It’s why I became a Democrat in the first place.
Author of “Gerrymanders: How Redistricting has Protected Slavery, White Supremacy, and Partisan Minorities in Virginia,” Brent Tarter
The proposed amendment would open a door to a fair and equitable electoral process in Virginia for the first time in the whole 400 years since the General Assembly first met in Jamestown. And no court could slam that door shut.
Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, January 5, 2020
What’s clear is that the present system is profoundly broken, and Virginia is too close to real reform to allow that moment to pass. Better to work within the framework established last year, with this amendment, than to start from scratch.”
BH Media (Martinsville, Lynchburg, Danville Bristol), January 5, 2020
It was easy for Democrats to be reform-minded when they were out of power; now that they’re in control, they must stand by the principled arguments for reform they have made for years. Pass the amendment and give voters the final say in November. If they don’t, prepare to reap the whirlwind.”
Washington Post, December 31, 2019
Democrats raising objections — including Del. Mark H. Levine (D-Alexandria) — say the measure was rushed through in the most recent session and deserves more thought. Please. The change of heart is not motivated by concern about legislative imperfections, many of which can be addressed by the separate enactment of enabling legislation…(Democrats who) turn their back on a reform they promoted and promised to enact would be the height of hypocrisy and opportunism.
Daily Progress, December 6, 2019
Virginia Democrats have the opportunity to prove whether they’re principled — or just partisan. Are they out for their own interests — or those of their constituents? We’re talking about the opportunity to advance…the creation of a bipartisan commission to handle redistricting…Opposing reform is simply wrong — and especially so if Virginia Democrats behave as hypocrites on this important issue.
Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 3, 2019
This amendment should be at the top of every lawmaker’s list. As we’ve said before, the current redistricting system is broken. Both parties are guilty of having used redistricting to keep their hold on power. Democrats lost power 20 years ago after controlling the assembly for much of the 20th century. We hope the 2020 General Assembly will not reverse course and quash reform. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle should support the proposed constitutional amendment.
BH Media (Martinsville, Lynchburg, Danville, Bristol), November 24, 2019
Virginia has a chance to end partisan redistricting forever, but it depends on the long-out-of-power Democrats re-passing the constitutional amendment. No doubt, some may be rethinking their support for redistricting reform now that they’re the ones with the power of the maps, but we have some advice for any wavering Democrat: Rise above your partisan leanings, do what’s right for this commonwealth and pass this amendment. It’s good policy and good politics. History will take note of what you do with this opportunity.
Roanoke Times, October 27, 2019
The amendment that passed isn’t perfect – few things made by mortal man are — and therein lies the excuse to kill it: Oh, we really do want to end gerrymandering, but we need a better amendment than this one. That’s a seductive line, as temptation often is: The reality is this amendment is the only shot available if we want to have something in place for the 2021 redistricting.
By voting to support the amendment, Virginians will finally create a fair and inclusive process that will replace our outdated and discriminatory laws. This will ensure that legislative district lines are drawn fairly and do not favor one party over the other.
Politicians will no longer have free rein to choose whoever they want to represent. It’s time to put people over politicians by including citizens in the process for the first time, and having a citizen serve as chair of the commission itself.
Historic voting rights protections for minority communities will be added to the Virginia Constitution for the first time. In fact, Justin Levitt, a former Obama administration Justice Department official said that the "amendment requires adherence to the Voting Rights Act … and then goes beyond.""
Instead of shady backroom deals, the new system will be completely transparent to voters and watchdogs. Public meetings will be held across Virginia, with all data and notes from the meetings being completely open to the public