Target: Governor Bob McDonnell
Goal: Urge Virginia’s governor to prevent the passage of undemocratic redistricting bill.
Virginia Republicans rammed a redistricting bill through the State Senate using an opportunity afforded to them by the absence of a Democratic lawmaker: State Senator Marsh (D), who was in Washington D.C. to attend President Obama’s inauguration. The Virginia Senate is currently split 20-20 between Republicans and Democrats. The GOP rammed the controversial new redistricting map through by only one vote while Marsh was absent. Sign the petition to condemn the undemocratic passage of this redistricting bill and call on Governor McDonnell to refuse his signature.
The bill redraws district lines to maximize the number of safe GOP seats. One of the effects of the bill is to create a new majority African-American district thereby creating stronger Republican majorities in other districts. It is particularly ironic that such a bill was passed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, while a veteran civil rights leader and first black mayor of Richmond, State Senator Marsh, was attending the inauguration of the first black President. Even Governor McDonnell, a Republican, was taken aback by the passage of the bill and remained non-committal as to whether he would sign it.
Virginia Democrats have said they intend to challenge the bill in court. While political gerrymandering is legal, the methods used to pass the bill are questionable. State Senator McEachnin referred to the methods used as “secretive and underhanded.” Sign the petition to condemn Virginia Republicans for the methods used to pass the redistricting bill and call on Governor McDonnell to refuse his signature.
Dear Governor McDonnell,
I am writing as a citizen concerned about democracy to ask you to not sign the recently passed redistricting bill. The methods used to pass the bill are highly suspect and undemocratic. The Virginia GOP waited until a known opponent and civil rights leader, State Senator Marsh, was away in Washington D.C. attending President Obama’s inauguration, to ram the controversial bill through by a narrow 20-19 vote. The bill was unscheduled and unannounced. The deceptive and underhanded tactics used to pass this bill are highlighted by the fact it occurred on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The passage of this law is a travesty to democratic society. While gerrymandering has unfortunately been deemed legally permissible by the courts, this bill is suspect. It is a power grab made more blatant by the fact that it creates a new majority African-American district while boosting the GOP majority in other areas. This serves to diminish the voice of minorities. As a citizen I ask that you do the responsible thing and refuse to sign this bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Oldmaison via Flickr