Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Appoints 2021 Redistricting Advisory Committee

Posted on
06/22/2021
Fairfax County Redistricting

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed a 20-member redistricting committee today to recommend new electoral boundaries for the Board of Supervisors and School Board districts.

The committee reflects the county’s diverse population, and it is composed of:

  • Residents from each of the nine currently existing Board districts, plus three at-large members.
  • Representatives from the  African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Arab-American communities; the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Labor Federation; the Federation of Citizens Associations; and the League of Women Voters.

The full list of committee members may be found on the county’s redistricting webpage.

“Redistricting must be done fairly and in a way that ensures transparency and fair representation of the diversity of Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “This is a community-led process and I am confident the committee will develop fair and equal districts and everyone will have the same access to representation.”

As required by law, the county must consider redrawing its political boundaries following the U.S. Census that is conducted every 10 years. This is done to ensure proportional representation as populations grow and shift over time. The Virginia Constitution requires that election districts for local governing bodies “give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district.”

State law also requires that the Board be composed of one elected at-large chairman and a fixed number of members who are elected from single-member districts. Legally, there may be as few as six members up to a maximum of 12 members, including the chairman.

“I’d like to thank the citizens who have stepped up to serve on this nonpartisan commission,” said Braddock District Supervisor James R. Walkinshaw. “I share my colleagues’ commitment to an open and transparent process that protects the constitutional rights of all Fairfax residents.”

The committee’s work will be compressed due to the late delivery of U.S. Census data to the county which isn’t expected to be received before mid-August. The group then will use the data to draw proposed districts Aug. 30 to Sept. 17 based on the timeline adopted by the Board of Supervisors. It’s expected the committee will present its report with proposed new districts to the Board on Oct. 19. Then the board is anticipated to hold a public hearing on these plans on Nov. 7, and it will consider adoption of new districts on Dec 7.

Public input will be key to the committee’s efforts. Residents are encouraged to submit their own plans and provide feedback, revisions and comments on the committee’s or other’s proposed plans. The public will be able to easily draw their own maps at the same time as the redistricting committee using an online portal.

The committee’s work will be guided by 11 policies adopted by the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 23, summarized as follows:

  1. The Board will consider redistricting plans that maintain nine election districts, as well as any other plans that propose a lawful number of election districts.
  2. The Board will not consider redistricting plans that would result in a maximum population deviation (i.e., the sum of the percentage deviations from population equality of the most- and least-populated districts) that is 10% or greater.
  3. The board will not consider redistricting plans that result in the denial or abridgement of the rights of any racial or language minority group to participate in the political process.
  4. The Board will consider existing geographical and political boundaries, which shall include, but not be limited to, incorporated town boundaries.
  5. The Board will consider established communities of interest which is defined as a neighborhood or geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural and economic interests. Present and planned use of land and public facilities are relevant to defining communities of interest. A community of interest does not include a community based upon political affiliation or relationship with a political party.
  6. The Board will consider existing districts and incumbent representation on local public bodies that may be affected by reapportionment.
  7. The Board encourages redistricting plans that are based on existing voting precinct boundaries, and where changes are necessary, precincts shall be divided along census block boundaries.
  8. The Board encourages interested persons to submit redistricting plans to the county.
  9. The Board encourages interested persons to submit proposals for amending or revising any redistricting plan that has been submitted to the county.
  10. The Board encourages public comments or recommendations from interested persons on any plan or change to a plan that has been submitted.
  11. All of the foregoing criteria shall be considered in the redistricting and reapportionment process, but population equality among districts and compliance with federal and state constitutional and statutory requirements, including the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, shall be given priority in the event of conflict among the criteria.

For more information, visit the county’s redistricting webpage.

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