For the last seven years, State Senator Creigh Deeds has gone to bat for a non-partisan redistricting proposal; today’s unanimous vote in the Virginia State Senate makes it three consecutive years that proposal has received support from a bi-partisan coalition in the Virginia Senate [See: Richmond Sunlight, SB 926, 2009].
It isn’t sexy. It isn’t soundbite worthy. But it is the key to ensuring political competition and bipartisanship in a state government nearly paralyzed with gridlock. Deeds says,
“This important reform can change the way we do business in state government by putting an end to the bitter partisanship that keeps us from moving Virginia forward. With the next redistricting just around the corner, my proposal ensures that the electorate chooses their elected leaders; not the other way around.”
The operative word here is non-partisan. A good example of how this might work would be districting by a panel of retired judges--since they spent their careers striving for neutrality and no longer have a stake in the system, they should be pretty fair and impartial. Hopefully this would produce as many competitive districts as possible, as opposed to bipartisan redistricting, which only produces equal numbers of safe districts through wheeling and dealing.