By Ray Reed and Alicia Petska

Two Lynchburg voters filed a lawsuit this week challenging the 2011 redistricting of the House of Delegates and accusing state officials of engaging in racial gerrymandering to dilute the voting power of African-Americans.

The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by Arelia Langhorne, an attorney and past chair of the Lynchburg Electoral Board, and Howard Butler, a retired insurance agent.

The State Board of Elections and Gov. Bob McDonnell are named as defendants.

The suit challenges the 2011 redistricting that split up Lynchburg, putting part of it in House District 22 and part in District 23. The city was previously consolidated in District 23.

Ward II, Lynchburg’s minority-majority voting ward, and other parts of the city were combined with swaths of Bedford, Campbell and Franklin counties to make up the new District 22. District 23 is composed of parts of Lynchburg and parts of Amherst and Bedford counties.

The suit alleges this was a “racially-motivated gerrymander intentionally calculated to eliminate District 23 as a minority-influence district and to give and in fact giving minority voters in Districts 22 and 23 less opportunity than white citizens to elect candidates of their choice for the Virginia House of Delegates …”

The suit argues the new district lines are a violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, the federal Voting Rights Act, and the Virginia constitution.