The Board of Supervisors adopted the following five legal criteria and 11 policies to guide the 2021 redistricting process at their Feb. 23 meeting.
The governing body of the County shall be composed of one elected at-large chairman and a fixed number of members who are elected from single-member districts.
The election districts shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory and constituted as to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district.
The election districts shall have boundaries that are clearly defined and clearly observable, as Virginia law defines that term.
The election districts shall be drawn in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States, including the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Constitution of Virginia; federal and state laws, including the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended; and relevant judicial decisions relating to racial and ethnic fairness.
Changes in district boundaries to meet the tests of equitable population distribution among the districts will be made with a minimum disruption of the then existing district pattern of service.
The Board will consider redistricting plans that maintain nine election districtsas well as any other plans that propose a lawful number of election districts.
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 ten percent or greater.
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.
The Board will consider existing geographical and political boundaries, which shall include, but not be limited to, incorporated town boundaries.
The Board will consider established communities of interest. A community of interest 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.
The Board will consider existing districts and incumbent representation on local public bodies that may be affected by reapportionment.
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.
The Board encourages interested persons to submit redistricting plans to the county. Proponents of any plan shall submit appropriate maps of proposed election districts and statistical summaries and analyses. The statistical analyses shall show the deviation of each election district from the target district population, the maximum population deviation, and the population counts for each district by race and ethnicity.
The Board encourages interested persons to submit proposals for amending or revising any redistricting plan that has been submitted to the county. Proponents of any such amendment or revision shall submit appropriate maps showing the proposed changes and statistical summaries and analyses. The statistical analyses shall show the deviation of each election district from the target district population, the maximum population deviation, and the population counts for each district by race and ethnicity.
In addition to the public participation encouraged by Policies 8 and 9 above, the Board encourages public comments or recommendations from interested persons on any plan or change to a plan that has been submitted.
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.