Calling all cartographers: Get involved in Richmond’s redistricting process

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Three of Richmond’s electoral districts have large population deviations that must be corrected during the City Council’s upcoming redistricting process.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Got serious map making skills? Know your way around census data? Want a say in which City Council district you live in?

Lucky for you, Richmond is starting its redistricting process.

While the first public meeting won’t be held until later in January, residents can submit suggestions, plans, questions and comments directly to City Council or to their individual council member. You can contact Richmond City Council in the following ways:

By mail at:
Richmond Decennial Voter District Redistricting
900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305
Richmond, Virginia 23219

By fax at: (804) 646-5468

By email at: redistricting@rva.gov

Why Richmond Needs New Districts

One of the key constitutional requirements for legislative districts – from city council seats to congressional districts – is the principle of equal representation. In practice, this means that the population of each of Richmond’s 9 voter precincts must be within 5% of the “ideal” population – one ninth of Richmond’s total.

That’s where the 2020 census comes in. Data shows that Richmond grew by over 11 percent – but that population growth wasn’t spread evenly across the city.

This chart shows the current population and deviations of Richmond’s council districts.

While Richmond’s 2nd District, stretching from Scott’s Addition to Carver, is a whopping 8% larger than it should be, the adjacent 3rd District, covering most of Northside, is 11% under par.

Most of the growth over the last decade was centered on Richmond’s downtown neighborhoods and East End, with Southside and West End holding steady.

This map shows Richmond’s current districts. (Map courtesy of Richmond City)

Mark Your Calendar

While you can start sending in your plans immediately, don’t expect any immediate feedback. The first public meeting scheduled for the redistricting process isn’t until January 24. These are the key dates in the redistricting process:

  • Jan. 24, 2022 – City Council introduces plans to the public; 30-day public comment period begins
  • Feb. 14, 2022 – City Council holds public hearing on redistricting plans
  • Feb. 28, 2022 – Final hearing and vote to adopt redistricting plan
  • March 30, 2022 – Redistricting goes into effect

While these are the only meetings currently scheduled, the city’s redistricting homepage states the final schedule “will include additional dates and opportunities for public discussion.”

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