Marjorie Hrouda, right, clerk of the House Priveieges and Elections committee, counts the votes of committee chairman Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania, 2nd from right, and others on HB1280 dealing with primary dates in June, during a meeting of the committee at the General Assembly Building in Richmond, VA Friday, Jan. 23, 2014. (Bob Brown/AP)

By WAPO Editorial Board

VIRGINIA VOTERS have given up on state legislative elections, and for good reason. Cynical lawmakers in Richmond seem determined to keep democracy nothing but an aspiration in the commonwealth.

Those lopsided results are no accident in a system where elected representatives get to handpick their voters through computer-assisted cartographical sleight of hand. Why should voters go to the polls when gerrymandering has become so scientifically precise that the results of legislative elections are preordained?

Turnout in legislative-only contests for the General Assembly has fallen dizzyingly, to less than 29 percent in 2011 from 49 percent in 1991. Virginians stay away from the elections for an excellent reason: They are shams, engineered by insiders as festivals of incumbent protection.




Read more about this topic: