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Supreme Court sets redistricting hearings

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The Virginia Supreme Court has scheduled two public hearings on the redistricting plan for the House of Delegates, State Senate and Congress.

Pursuant to Virginia Code § 30-399(F), the Court unanimously appointed Sean P. Trende and Bernard N. Grofman to serve as Special Masters for the preparation of proposed redistricting maps for the Virginia House of Delegates, the Senate of Virginia, and Virginia’s representatives to the United States House of Representatives.  The proposed maps prepared by the Court’s Special Masters and their written report have been posted and are available on the Court’s public website, https://www.vacourts.gov/courts/scv/districting/redistricting_information.pdf.   Public Hearings:  The Court is committed to providing continued opportunities for the public to comment on the redistricting process and the proposed redistricting maps prepared by the Court’s Special Masters.  Accordingly, two public hearings will be held virtually via a live internet-based platform on December 15 and 17, 2021 from 1 pm to 4 pm to receive public comment on the proposed plans. 

Members of the public, including elected officials, are invited to attend the hearing virtually and to provide live comments virtually.  No in-person public hearings are scheduled.  In order to participate and offer public comment, participants must notify the Clerk of Court prior to the meeting by sending an email to Redistricting@vacourts.gov indicating they wish to offer public comment and specifying which date they prefer (December 15 or 17, 2021).  The email must include the requester’s name and email address and indicate in what area of the Commonwealth of Virginia the person resides.  In response, a meeting link will be sent by email in advance of the hearing to the email address provided.  Requests to participate must be received at least 24 hours before the start of the public hearing.  Members of the public will be emailed instructions on what to expect and how to participate.  Individuals will be invited to speak on a first-come, first-served basis based on their sign-in time.  Individuals will be given an amount of time to provide comment not to exceed three minutes, exclusive of any clarifying questions from members of the Court.  The Court’s Special Masters will be listening to all comments. 

The process for making public comment will be as follows: when called upon to speak by the Chief Justice, commenters should state their name in a clear, audible tone of voice for the record.

Chief Justice  Donald W. Lemons Justices  S. Bernard Goodwyn  William C. Mims  Cleo E. Powell  D. Arthur Kelsey  Stephen R. McCullough  Teresa M. Chafin Senior Justices  CHARLES S. RUSSELL   LAWRENCE L. KOONTZ, JR.   LEROY F. MILLETTE, JR.  

Clerk  MURIEL-THERESA PITNEY  Executive Secretary  KARL R. HADE Chief Staff Attorney  K. LORRAINE LORD Reporter of Decisions  KENT SINCLAIR State Law Librarian  GAIL WARREN

All comments shall be directed to the Court as a whole, not to any individual member of the Court.  Commenters will be called upon in the order that they have signed in and invited to speak for a set time not to exceed three minutes. Commenters will be informed when their time has expired, and the next speaker will be invited to begin. Commenters may not yield any time to another speaker and questions of the Court will not be permitted.  Any person making rude or inappropriate comments will forfeit the remainder of their time and will be excluded without further notice. 

The Court recognizes that the establishment of voting districts for the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia’s congressional representatives will have significant and lasting impact on every Virginian.  For this reason, public comment is encouraged.    Written comments:  The Court will continue to receive written comments from the public, including elected officials, and to post them on the Court’s public website.  Comments on maps proposed by Special Masters may be made directly on the interactive maps by clicking on the appropriate link on the Court’s website.  All other public comments, including those made by elected officials, should be submitted to Redistricting@vacourts.gov and will be posted and accessible through the “Public Comments” link on the Court’s website and must be germane to the topic of Virginia redistricting.  Written comments must be submitted by 1:00 pm on December 20, 2021.  Written comments submitted after 1:00 pm on December 20, 2021 will not be reviewed by the Court or its Special Masters. 

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