Editorial: Democrats adopt an Orwellian argument to keep the power to gerrymander

Maybe Orwell had the date wrong. Maybe what he really meant to write was “2020.” There are lots of reasons why 2020 might be considered Orwellian, but here’s one close to home. Some Virginia Democrats are urging a “no” vote against the proposed constitutional amendment dealing with redistricting that’s on this year ballot by invoking the argument “No Gerrymandering. Vote No on Amendment #1.” This is an Orwellian perversion of the facts. Amendment One may or may not be the best way to deal with the problem — that’s certainly a matter of opinion. But this is undeniable: Voting no on Amendment One doesn’t defeat gerrymandering, it preserves gerrymandering. The Democrats who are pushing this particular line should be ashamed of peddling such a misleading argument. A more honest argument for those against the amendment would be “Amendment One sets up a bad process —trust us to do better.”

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It's time to change Virginia's Redistricting

There's a better way to draw fair districs.

The commission will end unfair laws.

By voting to support the amendment, Virginians will finally create a fair and inclusive process that will replace our outdated and discriminatory laws.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.

The commission will be led by citizens.

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.

The commission will protect civil rights.

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.""

The commission will be transparent.

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