Federal Lawsuit Seeks to Challenge Virginia’s State Electoral Districts

The Washington Post is reporting that voters in a dozen House of Delegates districts have come together to file a federal lawsuit that will challenge the current legislative map which they claim illegally concentrates African American voters, thus decreasing their influence.

The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It comes after an October decision by the court that determined that the state’s current congressional map “packs” African American voters into a single district, a decision which Congressional Republicans have since appealed.

William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Speaker of the House of Delegates, says that he remains confident that the state’s legislative map will hold up against legal challenge.

“The House districts were drawn in accordance with all federal and state law, adopted with bipartisan support after more than a dozen public hearings and committee meetings, and pre-approved by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department in accordance with the Voting Rights Act,” said Howell.

He also added that the map was “publicly supported by a majority of African American members in the House of Delegates.”

The congressional lawsuit and the state-focused lawsuit were both filed by lawyers from the Washington law firm Perkins Coie, who were unavailable to comment. Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), through a spokesman, also declined to comment on the lawsuits.

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