Tomblin Approves House of Delegates Redistricting Plan
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog
CHARLESTON — After a false start, the West Virginia House of Delegate’s redistricting plan is now official.
The Acting Governor’s office confirmed that Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, acting as governor, signed the H.B. 201, the plan redrawing House of Delegates districts into law this afternoon. The Acting Governor’s office also confirmed the signing in a one sentence press release shortly after confirming with West Virginia Watchdog on the phone.
The second House redistricting plan passed the House 56-30 on Aug. 20 and passed the state Senate on Aug. 21. The first House redistricting plan passed the Legislature Aug. 5, but fatal flaws were found in the first bill, causing Tomblin to veto the bill Aug. 17 and call for a second redistricting special session.
The redistricting plan passed by the House for a second time last weekend 47 single-member districts, six, three-member districts, two four-member districts, and five-member district in Monongalia County. Disapproving of how delegates were reapportioned in their counties, Putnam, Monroe, and Raleigh counties are threatening lawsuits over the plan. House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) expressed displeasure over the bill.
“I’m very disappointed Acting Governor Tombln signed the redistricting bill,” Armstead said on Twitter page. “Another missed opportunity to do the right thing for our state.”
The West Virginia Republican Party, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and South Charleston attorney Thorton Cooper have also considered launching lawsuits. These groups allege that the current multi-member district configuration violates the Voter Rights Act and the concept of “one person, one vote.” The solution, they say, is creating 100 single-member districts.
“The House redistricting plan needs to go back to the Legislature so that the final work product is one that better reflects public demands for fairness respecting the long-established concept of ‘one man, one vote,’” said Mike Stuart, chairman of the state Republican party, in a press release last week. “The present bill fails in every regard, is an unacceptable mish-mash of approaches that are illogical and unconstitutional, and, ultimately, shows little to no regard for the people of West Virginia.”
A poll released Thursday by the Chamber and R.L. Repass & Partners showed that 53 percent favor single-member districts, 23 percent support the current multi-member district plan, and 24 percent were unsure. The online poll was conducted between Aug. 10-22 with 300 likely voters and an unknown margin of error.
- UPDATE: W.Va. Chamber poll shows Tomblin in lead (westvirginia.watchdog.org)
Posted under Featured, Governor, House of Delegates, Legislature, News, Politics, Redistricting, West Virginia.
Tags: Acting Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, House of Delegates, Monongalia County West Virginia, Redistricting, single-member districts, Tim Armstead, West Virginia, West Virginia Republican Party, West Virginia Senate
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