In redistricting tweak, Virginia GOP increases minority representation in state senate

Yesterday, Virginia Republicans increased Black minority-majority representation in the state senate by one seat; however, the Democrats cry foul and threaten litigation. This was a move that Virginia Democrats should have made when they held power but were more interested in trying to create a partisan firewall and protect a narrow artificial edge held in 2011.
Watkins said he realized the plan "would come as a surprise" to Democrats, but is in line with the federal Voting Rights Act. He said it increases black representation in the Senate in line with Virginia's population breakdown.   Watkins argued that because the state has had only five black majority districts for the past 22 years the state is out of compliance with the Voting Rights Act. "It will clean up the lines, protect us against the threat of litigation, and provide an excellent opportunity to allow the demographics of this Senate to more closely align with those of the commonwealth at large," Watkins said.

But Democrats are crying foul, saying the plan is really intended to give Republicans an outright majority in the chamber.

...Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, who heads the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus, said she supports the creation of sixth minority-majority district, just not in the way it was handled by her Republican colleagues.
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