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Redistricting Information & Resources

The information and resources on this page were compiled by the LWV-WV Fair Maps Committee. 

Videos/Trainings

Learn more about gerrymandering and redistricting from Dr. Kenneth Martis, Professor Emeritus, West Virginia University

LWVWV’s Redistricting for the People! Teach-In featuring special guests Delegates Barbara Fleischauer & Evan Hansen and Senator Charles Trump, Co-Chair of the WV Legislature’s Joint Committee on Restricting with Moderator Effie Kallas, Co-President of LWV-WV. Learn more about how the redistricting process is going to work this year, how the For the People Act would impact it in the future, and what you can do to get involved.

 

Redistricting in West Virginia

Resources, news and updates about the redistricting process: https://www.wvlegislature.gov/redistricting.cfm

What’s at Stake with West Virginia Redistricting – Mountain State Spotlight 

Who is on the WV Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting

Public Hearing Dates - The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Redistricting will host 12 in-person public hearings and three virtual public hearings, with each taking place from 6 to 8 p.m.  The sign-in process will begin at 5:30 p.m. Anyone who would like to be guaranteed an opportunity to speak during the hearings will need to be present to sign in by 6 p.m. House Rule 84 governs public hearings and allows the Joint Committee on Redistricting Chairmen to limit the time allowed for public comments at each hearing based on total number of participants. Senate rules govern standing committees and will be followed in the actions and proceedings of this committee as applicable. (More details here.)

Hearings are scheduled for the following dates and locations, and are subject to change:

  • July 27: Putnam County Judicial Building, 12093 Winfield Road Winfield, WV 25213
  • July 29: Chief Logan State Park, 376 Little Buffalo Creek Rd, Logan, WV 25601
  • Aug. 3: Tamarack, 1 Tamarack Park, Beckley, WV 25801
  • Aug. 4: Summersville Arena & Conference Center, 3 Armory Way, Summersville, WV 26651
  • Aug. 10: Stonewall Resort State Park, 149 State Park Trail, Roanoke, WV 26447
  • Aug. 12: Monongalia County Extension Services & 4H Center at Mylan Park, 270 Mylan Park Lane, Morgantown, WV 26501
  • Aug. 17:  Martinsburg Sheriff’s Office Meeting Room510 S Raleigh St, Martinsburg, WV 25401
  • Aug. 18: Keyser VFD Station 2, 1550 Cornell St Keyser WV 26726
  • Aug. 24: Wheeling Independence Hall1528 Market St, Wheeling, WV 26003
  • Aug. 26: Cabell County Courthouse, 750 5th Ave, Huntington, WV 25701
  • Sept. 9: The Culture Center, Building 9, Capitol Complex, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston, WV 25305
  • Sept. 16: Judge Donald F. Black Courthouse Annex, 317 Market St, Parkersburg, WV 26101

Dates for three virtual public hearings will be announced separately.

 

Redistricting Glossary - In particular those C’s!

Census—A complete count or enumeration of the population; the federal census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, section 2.

Census block—The smallest and lowest level of geography defined for decennial census tabulations. States may have input into the boundaries through the first phase of the Redistricting Data Program—the Block Boundary Suggestion Project (BBSP). The Census Bureau provides redistricting data down to the block level, which is the lowest level of census geography. Blocks can have any population, including no people.

Census block group— Block Groups (BGs) are statistical divisions of census tracts, and generally contain between 600 and 3,000 people. BGs tend to follow neighborhoods. They are used to present data and control block numbering. A block group consists of clusters of blocks within the same census tract that have the same first digit of their four-digit census block number. Most BGs were delineated by local participants in the Census Bureau’s Participant Statistical Areas Program.

Census Bureau—The U.S. Bureau of the Census, which part of the Department of Commerce, conducts the decennial Census of Population and Housing as well as numerous ongoing projects for the federal government. The mission for the Bureaus is to “Count Everyone Once, Only Once and in the Right Place” in the decennial census.

Census geography—The geographic units for which census information is tabulated and reported with several hierarchies; the most basic is census block to census block group to census tract to county to state.

Census tract— Census tracts are small, relatively permanent geographic entities within counties (or the statistical equivalents of counties) delineated by a committee of local data users. Generally, census tracts have between 2,500 and 8,000 residents and boundaries that follow visible features. When first established, census tracts were to be as homogeneous as possible with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions. Tracts were first defined in 1970 and the Census Bureau maintains them as consistently as possible across the decades.  

Commission—A statutory or constitutional body charged with researching, advising or enacting policy. Redistricting commissions have been used to draw districts for legislatures and Congress.

Communities of interest—Geographical areas, such as neighborhoods of a city or regions of a state, where the residents have common demographic and/or political interests that do not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of a political subdivision, such as a city or county.

Compactness—Having the minimum distance between all the parts of a constituency (a circle, square or a hexagon are examples of very compact district). Various methods have been developed to measure compactness.

Contiguity—All parts of a district being connected geographically at some point with the rest of the district. Limits on contiguity by point or by water vary by state.

Cracking—A term used when the electoral strength of a particular group is divided by a redistricting plan

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures 

 

Redistricting Criteria  for West Virginia

From the National Conference of State Legislatures:

Legislative 

Congressional
 
 
Our current House of Delegates is composed of 100 members now with 22 Democrats and 78 Republicans. The current 100 Delegates come from 67 districts, with 22 members elected from 11 two-member districts, 18 legislators elected from six three-member districts, eight legislators elected from two four-member districts and five legislators elected from a five-member district. House Bill 4002, passed in 2018, requires West Virginia to join the vast majority of other states electing Delegates from single-member districts for the first time in this cycle. 

WV House Districts 2010 Plan. Source: West Virginia Legislature, https://www.wvlegislature.gov/index.cfm

 

 Democrat     Republican    Mountain     Libertarian   No Party     Other        TOTAL

  396,079          428,542           2,157            8,818             249,951      36,844      1,122,391

  35.29%          38.18%            0.19%          0.79%            22.27%       3.28% 

One person, one vote: How this rule changed WV’s redistricting guidelines

RUCHO ET AL. v. COMMON CAUSE ET AL. (2019) – (The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable.)  

 

Mapping

On information and belief, West Virginia will be using Maptitude software to draw districts. The website offers information about drawing electoral districts on their website.

Other Public Mapping Tools

Other Redistricting Resources and Research

  • Princeton Gerrymandering Project
  • Representable 
  • Brennan Center for Justice - The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law is an excellent source of information about all aspects of redistricting.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures Redistricting Webinars
  • All About Redistricting – A good all-around sites for understanding and following redistricting reform. It is particularly helpful for tracking lawsuits related to redistricting, and serves as a portal to many other useful sites.
  • U.S. Department of Justice - This government website covers all federal laws relating to redistricting, including every aspect of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Ballotpedia - Ballotpedia is an online encyclopedia about American politics and elections, created by a community of users and reviewed by professional editors. It is a useful source of information about how each of the 50 states handles redistricting.
  • Prison Gerrymandering Project - The Prison Policy Initiative created this website that provides information on redistricting issues that result from the way the U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated persons.
  • Election Law Blog - This blog, created by Rick Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, is supported by Hasen and others. Interested persons can sign up to receive a daily digest of news stories related to election law, including redistricting.

 

Most Recent Legal History of Redistricting Litigation in West Virginia

Jefferson County Comm’n v. Tennant, No. 3:11-cv-00096 (N.D. W.Va.), No. 2:11-cv-00989 (S.D. W.Va.), No. 11A674 and No. 11-1184 (Sup. Ct.): a challenge in federal court to the congressional redistricting plan, based on unequal population and allegedly insufficient attention to compactness under state law.

- Trial Court

- U.S. Supreme Court
- Trial court II

The latest: On January 3, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding the enacted plan in violation of federal equal population requirements. On September 25, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, finding that the state’s consistently applied legitimate policies — including maintaining political subdivisions, avoiding contests between incumbents, and minimizing population shifts — were sufficient to support the 0.79% population disparity in congressional districts. On remand, the trial court dismissed the remainder of the complaint, which asserted claims under state law, finding that state court is the appropriate forum to pursue those claims.

State of West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. TennantNo. 11-1405 (W.Va. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state House redistricting plan, based on allegedly insufficient attention to preserving county boundaries.
     - Petition for writ of mandamusappendix (Oct. 13, 2011).
     - Response by state Secretary of State (Nov. 4).
     - Response by Intervenor Speaker of the Houseappendix (Nov. 4).
     - Order denying petition (Nov. 23) and final opinion (Feb. 13), dissent (July 20).
The latest: On November 23, the state Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s claims, finding the plan constitutionally acceptable.

State of West Virginia ex rel. Andes v. TennantNo. 11-1447 (W.Va. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state House redistricting plan, based on allegedly insufficient attention to preserving county boundaries, unequal representation to certain counties, and partisan gerrymandering.
     - Petition for writ of prohibitionappendix (Oct. 21, 2011).
     - Response by state Secretary of State (Nov. 4).
     - Response by Intervenor Speaker of the Houseappendix (Nov. 4).
     - Order denying petition (Nov. 23) and final opinion (Feb. 13), dissent (July 20).
The latest: On November 23, the state Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s claims, finding the plan constitutionally acceptable.

State of West Virginia ex rel. County Comm’n of Monroe County v. TennantNo. 11-1516 (W.Va. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state House redistricting plan, based on allegedly insufficient attention to preserving county boundaries, and on allegedly improper implementation of multi-member districts.
     - Petition for writ of prohibition (Nov. 4).
     - Response by state Secretary of State (Nov. 14).
     - Response by Intervenor Speaker of the Houseappendix (Nov. 14).
     - Order denying petition (Nov. 23) and final opinion (Feb. 13), dissent (July 20).
The latest: On November 23, the state Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s claims, finding the plan constitutionally acceptable.

State of West Virginia ex rel. Callen v. TennantNo. 11-1517 (W.Va. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state Senate redistricting plan, based on allegedly insufficient attention to preserving county boundaries and compactness.
     - Petition for writ of mandamusappendix (Nov. 4).
     - Response by state Secretary of State (Nov. 14).
     - Order denying petition (Nov. 23) and final opinion (Feb. 13), dissent (July 20).
The latest: On November 23, the state Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s claims, finding the plan constitutionally acceptable.

State of West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant IINo. 11-1525 (W.Va. Sup. Ct.): a challenge in state court to the state Senate redistricting plan, based on allegedly insufficient attention to preserving county boundaries, compactness, and unequal population.
     - Petition for writ of mandamusappendix (Nov. 7).
     - Response by state Secretary of State (Nov. 14).
     - Order denying petition (Nov. 23) and final opinion (Feb. 13), dissent (July 20).
The latest: On November 23, the state Supreme Court denied the petitioner’s claims, finding the plan constitutionally acceptable.

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