Redistricting

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8AM-4:30 PM M-F

703-324-7329
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Tony Castrilli,
Director of Public Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions about Redistricting

Redistricting is the process to draw new electoral boundaries to ensure proportional representation as populations grow and shift over time. It is done to create election districts with roughly equal numbers of people, and the process takes place after every decennial Census that counts every person living in the United States.

Fairfax County’s redistricting effort will draw new electoral districts for the Board of Supervisors and School Board only.

Redistricting is a legally required process to ensure proportional representation—that is the requirement that every citizen’s vote is weighed equally. It is more commonly known as the principle of "one person, one vote."

Proportional representation is required by the Equal Protection Clause of United States Constitution, the Virginia Constitution and state law.

The Virginia Constitution says that local election districts must be constituted “as to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district.”

NO. The Fairfax County Public Schools are responsible for drawing school boundaries, and Fairfax County’s redistricting effort is completely unrelated. Redistricting will draw new electoral districts from which the Board of Supervisors and School will be elected.

NO. Fairfax County’s redistricting effort will only draw new electoral boundaries for the Board of Supervisors and School Board. However, the state’s redistricting commission is redrawing new electoral maps for members of the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. House of Representatives. This process is separate from the county’s redistricting effort.

By making sure districts have nearly the same number of people, it is the way to ensure you have equal representation on the Board of Supervisors and School Board. It also affects who you vote for and where you vote based on how the electoral boundaries are drawn. Once they are adopted, the new districts will be in place for the next 10 years when redistricting will happen again.

The legal authority and responsibility for drawing local election districts rests with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The Board appointed a Redistricting Advisory Committee to draw proposed new maps with input from the public. After the committee submits its recommendations, the Board will hold a public hearing (currently scheduled for Nov. 9) to consider these proposed new districts. And ultimately the board will vote on an ordinance to adopt new election districts into law for the next 10 years.

By state law, Fairfax County's redistricting effort must be completed by the end of 2021. Currently, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on an ordinance to adopt new electoral districts during their Dec 7, meeting. (Local election districts must be established and altered by adoption of an ordinance.)

By state law, the county must use the 2020 Census population data as adjusted by the Virginia Division of Legislative Services. This state agency adjusts this Census data to reallocate people who are incarcerated. If they are Virginia residents, they are reallocated to the jurisdiction where they were living before being incarcerated. Or, they are allocated to the Virginia jurisdiction where they are incarcerated if they were not living in the state before then.

Governments must make “an honest and good faith effort” to construct districts as close to equal population as is practicable. But the law does not demand mathematical perfection. The courts have allowed deviations from strict population equalization in election districts if the deviations are attributable to factors the courts have deemed “legitimate” and “related to effectuating rational state policy.”

Federal courts will presume that a redistricting plan satisfies the equal population requirements if the difference between the most and least populated districts is less than 10%.

However, this does not guarantee that the courts will not overturn a plan if the population deviation is attributed to improper factors—even if the deviation is less than 10%.

No. The law doesn’t impose a maximum size on the districts, only that districts have roughly the same population so that County residents have proportional representation. However, state law does limit the number of districts — Fairfax County may have as few as five districts or as many as 11. Currently, there are nine districts.

Yes, although renaming districts doesn't have to be done as part of the redistricting process. In the past, district names have been created or changed as part of the process. For example, the 1991 redistricting process resulted in name changes, including the renamed Braddock and Hunter Mill districts.

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