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Mr. McDonnell's toothless commission

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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-10-11 03:22 PM
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Mr. McDonnell's toothless commission
IN VIRGINIA, as elsewhere, incumbent politicians have manipulated electoral boundaries to ensure their own invincibility. By perfecting computer-assisted techniques to choose their own voters, rather than the other way around, officeholders have enshrined a blatantly undemocratic democracy and made a joke of the two-party system. In 2009, nearly 90 percent of the races for the House of Delegates were blowouts. So much for competitive elections.

Mindful of that, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) reversed his long-standing position and embraced redistricting reform when he ran for his current office. After a year in office, the governor is making good on that promise - in a formal sense - by appointing a bipartisan commission that will propose new lines on the electoral map in keeping with the 2010 Census population numbers.

Unfortunately, the governor's initiative, to be announced Monday, seems halfhearted. Rather than proposing legislation to establish the commission and give it legal teeth, as other states have done, he is creating it by executive order and giving it only an advisory role. The 11-member commission, equipped with neither staff nor budget from the state, will have less than two months once detailed Census figures are released in February to propose a map with state legislative and congressional districts. Lots of luck.
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