City of Alexandria, VA
This section of Alexandria's Election web site will continue to be updated as additional redistricting information becomes available.
The U.S. Constitution, the Virginia Constitution, and the Code of Virginia require state and local governing bodies to adjust their electoral district boundaries every ten years to reflect population shifts—and conform to the Constitutional principle of “One Person- One Vote.” This “redistricting” process occurs every ten years, and is based on Census data gathered by the federal government during its decennial count of the total U.S. population. The most recent Census was in 2010; redistricting must be completed during 2011.(Top)
The Virginia General Assembly has the legal responsibility for redrawing federal and state legislative district boundaries. Virginia has 11 Congressional Districts, 40 State Senate districts, and 100 House of Delegate districts.
Local governing bodies, like the Alexandria City Council, have the legal responsibility for redrawing local legislative district boundaries. Alexandria elects its City Council at large, so the City’s only local districts are for the School Board—Districts “A,” “B” and “C.”(Top)
The most recent Census put Virginia’s population at 8,001,024 and Alexandria’s population at 139,966.
Equal representation laws (one person-one vote) require Congressional Districts within a state to be identical in population—any variance can be challenged in Court. When Virginia’s 11 Congressional Districts were redrawn in 2001, their populations varied by only 38 people; now the difference is over 220,000.
State and local legislative districts receive more leeway, as long as the population differences between the largest and smallest districts are less than 10%, which equates to a plus/minus 5% variance from the “ideal” or average-size district. When Virginia’s state legislative districts were redrawn in 2001, they were all within 2% of the “ideal” district.
Because state legislative districts can cross city and county lines, Alexandria is carved up between several General Assembly seats.
Where Can I Find Maps of the Proposed Plans?
We have posted links to Alexandria precinct maps with the new House and Senate Districts. If you are interested in other jurisdictions within Virginia, you can go to the Virgnia Division of Legislative Services and use its free mapping program to view all of the proposed plans. And, the chart below shows a list of all the City's precincts, with their old and new House and Senate Districts.
Voters in 11 of the City's 26 precincts will see a change in their State Senate or House of Delegates District!
Voting precincts are not (legally) allowed to be split between local legislative districts (like School Board Districts), nor (to avoid confusion) should they be split between state or federal legislative districts. Fortunately, the General Assembly did not split any of Alexandria's precincts during the redistricting process, so the City does not need to "repair" any precinct lines.
The Alexandria Electoral Board did, however, recommend some minor precinct boundary changes in two areas of the City where precincts have become oversized, not by legal standards, but in terms of Election Day manageability--Lee Center and Cora Kelly, which are each approaching 5,000 registered voters. As a solution, (and after two public meetings), the bipartisan Alexandria Electoral Board voted to recommend minor boundary changes that will impact about 1,200 voters in the Lee Center-Lyles Crouch precincts; and about 2,800 voters in the Cora Kelly-Mount Vernon-George Washington precincts.
After a public hearing on Saturday, May 14, the Alexandria City Council adopted the Board's recommendation to adjust the boundaries of these five precincts. The Justice Department has cleared the changes, and they will take effect for the August 23 Primary Election. You can read the Docket Memo (and see the maps) at http://dockets.alexandriava.gov/fy11/051011rm/di10.pdf
We will mail notification (and new voter cards) to all voters affected by new legislative district or precinct lines. If you have any questions, please contact the General Registrar, Tom Parkins, email@example.com.
The maps below show the new precinct boundaries:.Click here to see the proposed boundary changes for Lee Center/Lyles Crouch.
Click here to see the proposed boundary changes for Cora Kelly/Mount Vernon/George Washington.
Virginia is one of the few states with elections in 2011, causing our timeline to be more compressed than most. New legislative district boundaries must be drawn (and approved) in time for the August 23, 2011 Primary for Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates—which means a lot happened quickly during April and May!
The Virginia General Assembly
The Virginia General Assembly released its Redistricting Proposals on Tuesday, March 29, and held public hearings around the state on March 31 and April 2. The General Assembly reconvened on Monday, April 4, 2011 to discuss the plans (and other business). The House of Delegates passed its redistricting plan on April 6; the State Senate passed its Plan on April 7.
The Plans (HB5001) then went to the Governor, who vetoed the Bill on April 15. In his "Veto Letter," Governor McDonnell remarked that the districts proposed in the Senate Plan "are not compact...and do not properly preserve locality lines and communities of interest." He also urged the House to strengthen its plan.
The General Assembly reconvened on April 25, and both the House and Senate made changes to their plans. Those plans (HB5005) passed and were signed by the Governor. Virginia's Redistricting Plan has now gone to the U.S. Department of Justice for review—Virginia is covered by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, so the state’s redistricting plans must first be cleared by the Department of Justice to make sure the plans do not reduce opportunities for minority participation in the electoral process.
The Justice Department has 60 days to respond. If Justice sends the state a letter saying it does not object to the plan, the plan is considered approved; if Justice does object, the General Assembly must call a special session. Virginia will likely ask for an expedited review, which could shorten the time at Justice to 30 or 45 days.
Virginia's plan was cleared by the Justice Department on June 17, 2011.
Meanwhile, Back In Alexandria…
Alexandria does not elect any local offices by district in 2011, so City Council had time to review Census data and the State's Redistricting Plan prior to finalizing its own decisions about School Board districts and precinct line revisions.
But it was still a tight timetable—all redistricting plans must be finalized prior to the end of 2011, and there are many people working together to complete the local puzzle—City Council, School Board, City Manager, City Attorney, School Superintendent, City Planning Office (including Geographic Information Systems, GIS), the Office of Voter Registration, the Alexandria Electoral Board, political parties, minority groups, and, of course, the citizens (and voters) of Alexandria.
During April and May, Alexandria determined if it needed to make any minor adjustments to precinct lines to repair any split precincts or make precincts more manageable. Then, in September and October, the City must adopt a new School Board plan (if Council decides to redraw those boundaries) and send the final plan to Justice at least 60 days prior to the December 31, 2011 deadline for Redistricting.
Because the population of the City's three school board districts remains within an accepatable variance, on June 14 City Council voted not to change these district boundaries.
Finally, on June 14, 2011 Alexandria's Precinct Plans were cleared by the Department of Justice.
Here is the timetable for State and Local Redistricting:
To learn More About the 2010 Census and 2011 Redistricting
Virginia Division of Legislative Services
Alexandria Office of Planning and Zoning
The Virginia Public Access Project
UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service