Category: Virginia (Page 1 of 57)

Why We Oppose Constitutional Amendment #1

Vote NO on 1

This fall, Virginians will vote on a constitutional amendment that could enshrine political gerrymandering in our state constitution. If you prefer a Virginia where voters choose their politicians with a truly independent and non-partisan redistricting commission, we must vote NO on Amendment 1.

The rationale for Democratic Voters

At first glance, the amendment looks good: it establishes a bipartisan commission to draw redistricting lines. But there is a “Poison Pill” in the full text of the amendment, which is not included in the explanation on the ballot. This “Poison Pill” establishes a redistricting process that makes political gerrymandering legal in Virginia and is much worse than what we have today.

What’s a “Poison Pill”? It’s a little provision in a big law that undermines the overall intent of the law. In this case, the poison pill provides that a mere 2 members of the 16-member commission can veto the State plan, then the Commission is scrapped and the VA Supreme Court takes over to draw the lines. What’s wrong with this?

• The VA Supreme Court is highly partisan. Currently, it has 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat. The Court is appointed by the majority party of the Legislature in Virginia. Thus, the Amendment continues to have the political majority draw the lines. This seems like what we have now, but it is much worse because …

• The Amendment overrules the new Anti-Political-Gerrymandering law passed this year and does nothing to ban political gerrymandering. The Amendment provides no rules or objectives governing the VA Supreme Court’s redistricting. No objective to keep geographical communities together. No objective to represent the political makeup of the voters. Under the Amendment, it will be perfectly legal for the VA Supreme Court to draw redistricting lines with the sole purpose of making both houses of the legislature a Republican majority — no matter how crazy the maps end up looking.

• There is no requirement of fairness, transparency, or justification of the lines drawn. We will never know the rationale behind the lines the Court does not have to justify its decision. The sister of a sitting Republican Senator is on the Court, and she will be empowered to draw the lines of her brother’s district in favor of her brother. This will be completely legal.

• The VA Supreme Court’s map will be unchallengeable because there is no higher court to appeal to. The Amendment overrules the Constitutional system of checks and balances as relates to redistricting.

• And the worst part of all is that this Amendment will likely result in a perpetually Republican legislature and Supreme Court regardless of the changing political demographics of the State. Under the Amendment, the Republican Court can legally draw the lines to favor its own party thereby guaranteeing a Republican majority in the Legislature. The Republic majority in the Legislature, in turn, will continue to appoint Republican justices guaranteeing a Republican majority in the Supreme Court. This would be completely legal under the Amendment.

In essence, the Amendment establishes a system whereby the VA Supreme Court, as it exists in 2021 (6 Republicans and 1 Democrat) will choose the majority party of the Legislature in 2021 and that majority and the Supreme Court’s majority will be locked-in forever.

The amendment is opposed by the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia, founding board member, and former president of OneVirginia2021 Linda Perriello, among others.

Vote “NO” to the Constitutional Amendment #1

The rationale for ALL voters – Republican and Democrat

• The Amendment does nothing to ban political gerrymandering. Instead, it overrules the law that was passed this year to ban gerrymandering in redistricting in 2021;

• The Commission is not independent or non-partisan. Its membership is limited to those chosen by just four politicians: the party leaders in each house;

• The Legislature will set the rules for redistricting that the Commission has to follow, so the Legislature remains in control of the process;

• The “citizen” members are chosen by the two political parties, so they will be loyal party members;

• The Legislators on the Commission can veto the work of the citizen members. The Commission is a sham attempting to hide that fact that the power will stay in the Legislature;

• The timeline in the Amendment is untenable, guaranteeing the failure of the Commission and guaranteeing that the Supreme Court, which is chosen by the Legislature, will draw the district lines;

• The Amendment locks in the 2-party system because there is no representation of other political parties or independents;

• This Amendment has too many flaws to enshrine it in our Constitution. A Constitutional Amendment is too important to get wrong.

Answers to some of the questions that may be asked:

What will happen if the Amendment fails?

Last year, the Legislature passed a law that outlaws political and racial gerrymandering for 2021 redistricting. If the Amendment fails, the Legislature would be obligated to draw fair districting lines and their plan would be challengeable in court if it is politically or racially unfair.

I hear that OneVirginia2021 says that Democrats have changed their minds because they want their chance to gerrymander the State in favor of Democrats. The Democrats have always supported an independent commission for redistricting and OneVirginia2021 used to support this same goal. It’s OneVirginia2021 that has changed its mind.

If this is true, how did the Democrats let this Amendment get on the ballot? The Republicans inserted the “Poison Pill” at the last moment, and Legislators had only 20 minutes to review everything before the vote. Many Democrats felt it was a “good start” but now admit they made a bad mistake.

 

Learn More about Fair Districts and Why to Vote NO on Amendment #1
8:00 PMTuesday, September 29, 2020

30th District Call to Convention

Whereas it is the duty of the Culpeper County Democratic Committee to issue the Call to Caucus for the purpose of electing delegates to the 2017 30th District (Orange, Madison and Part of Culpeper) House of Delegates District Democratic Convention which will be held on the 29th day of April in 2017, beginning at 10 am, in the Culpeper County Democratic Committee Head Quarters located at 102 North Main Street, Culpeper, VA, 22701, on the second floor. Now therefore be it resolved that the Culpeper County Democratic Committee hereby issues the Call to Convention for the 2017 Democratic Party Caucus to convene at noon, at the Culpeper Co. Democratic Committee 102 North Main Street, Culpeper, VA, 22701 for the sole purpose of electing delegates to the 30th House of Delegates District Democratic Convention.

Convention to be held on Apr 29, 2017

Download 30th District Convention packet

Our candidates:

Ben Hixon

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Annette Hyde

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ACTION ALERT: 5th District Town Hall

On Sunday, Feb. 26, more than 1,200 people attended the People’s Town Hall at the MLK Performing Arts Center.

Our moderators, Saad and Kibiriti, did an incredible job. Dozens of you shared powerful stories and important questions, and we raised more than $3,000 for Amnesty International. We’re very disappointed that Congressman Garrett chose not to attend, but we recorded the whole event for his (and your) viewing pleasure.

Since our event, Rep. Garrett announced that he will be holding a “town hall” in Charlottesville for 135 people on March 31. That is absurdly inadequate, especially in light of the huge response we saw with the People’s Town Hall. We’re asking Rep. Garrett to plan a real town hall at a venue that can accommodate the thousands of concerned citizens who want to meet with him. If he moves forward with his tiny event, we’ll hold a rally to show him what democracy looks like.

We’re going to deliver that message to Tom Garrett directly this Monday, March 6, at 1 p.m.!

Monday is a District Work Day, and Garrett is scheduled to be at his Charlottesville office to meet with constituents. So this week, we’ll be having Monday with Tom, and we know he’ll be there to hear us! Gather outside of the Daily Progress (685 Rio Road West in Charlottesville) at 1 p.m., and we’ll walk over to Garrett’s office (686 Berkmar Circle) together. Bring a poster with your question or concern for the congressman!

Call Congressman Tom Garrett (202-225-4711) and ask him to hold a real town hall meeting, not a tiny lecture. We expect our representatives to be responsive to our concerns. Tom Garrett can’t represent us if he doesn’t meet us.  Click here for a script

If you are able, please try to park in the surrounding area to make room in the Berkmar lot for those with appointments or others who work in the area. We want to respect the other businesses and not block entrances.

Thank you again for your tremendous support. The People’s Town Hall was a monumental success, but it’s not the end of the road. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re standing indivisible, and we’ve got this!

In solidarity,

Patrick for Indivisible Charlottesville

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The Movement Resisting Donald Trump Has A Name: The (Local) Democratic Party

While outside groups are getting the attention, local Democratic parties nationwide are seeing a surge of interest.

By Ryan Grim , Amanda Terkel

The Movement Resisting Donald Trump Has A Name: The (Local) Democratic Party

Local Democratic parties are confronting a problem in the Trump era that is as confounding as it is unexpected: space. “I’m as busy this year as I was at any time last year in the heat of a huge election,” said Mark Fraley, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party in Indiana.

The resistance to President Donald Trump has taken a variety of forms, all of them well chronicled by the media. The Women’s March, which saw some 5 million people take to the streets in a single day, helped fuel the growth of Indivisible chapters around the country, and has itself continued organizing meetings and protests since. The groups Swing Left, Flippable and The Sister District Project are routing people to swing districts where they can be most effective.

Democrats have already won two special elections in Virginia since November, and the state House and governor’s mansion will be up for grabs this fall.  If Democrats can ride a new wave into power, the gerrymandering of 2010 can be rolled back.  Local officials say they’re focused on creating a positive vision and a constant stream of activities to keep these new activists engaged.

Amid it all, observers and participants alike have wondered what the name is for this nascent movement. The Resistance? The Opposition?

But if the swelling ranks of county-level meetings are an indication of things to come, the grassroots movement underway already has a name. It’s called the Democratic Party.

Shocked by the outcome of the election and fearful for the future of the country, people of all ages, some of them Democrats, some independents, some Greens, found the time and location of a local party meeting and showed up.

Here are a few of their stories.

DPVA Rural Caucus 3rd Annual Retreat

Rural Caucus Mission: To nurture connections between communities of people who may, or may not yet, vote Democratic in Virginia’s non-urban areas, to engage local people to determine the issues and priorities that matter to them, and to ensure sustainable rural life and progressive values throughout all of Virginia.

 

Please save the date for our 3rd Rural Retreat (all Dems, liberals, and progressives – not just rural) where like minded…

Posted by Democrats of the 5th Congressional District of Virginia on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Vote NO on 1

Why We Oppose Constitutional Amendment #1