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Virginia moves to take politics out of mapmaking

Advocates for political reform nationwide always take heart when something they favor happens close to Washington, believing changes at the local level will eventually boost interest in federal action. So there's excitement among crusaders against gerrymandering, because Virginia is on the cusp of depoliticizing the way its election boundaries are drawn.

Both chambers of the state legislature have passed measures that would call a statewide vote on amending the Virginia constitution to create a bipartisan redistricting commission. The two bills are different in some important ways, but the Washington Post editorial board believes a compromise will be struck in coming days – because both Republican and Democratic legislators have concluded that claiming a good-government victory is in their best interests headed into the state's off-year campaign cycle.

"Facing the possibility of losses in this fall's legislative elections, and the certainty of new electoral maps following the 2020 Census, many in the GOP see a bipartisan redistricting commission as their best protection against the growing likelihood of Democratic dominance in Richmond," the paper writes. "For their part, Democrats have talked a good game on redistricting reform for years. Now, incumbents seem to realize they had better deliver or face the wrath of their own party's voters in June primaries."

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