Citing significant concerns about the Senate redistricting plan, which failed to receive any bipartisan support, Gov. Bob McDonnell has vetoed HB 5001, the redistricting bill passed by the General Assembly.
This is the first Senate plan over the last 40 years that did not receive at least minimum bipartisan support.
This plan has also been criticized broadly for its failure to preserve communities of interest, ensure compact districts and maintain generally equivalent populations in each district.
McDonnell will not sign a bill that he believes does not comply with state and federal law, and does not have a reasonable chance of receiving preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which could subject Virginia to costly and lengthy litigation.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling issued the following statement on McDonnell's veto:
“I commend Gov. McDonnell for vetoing the redistricting bill recently passed by the General Assembly. I opposed this bill because the redistricting plan adopted in the Senate was an egregious example of political gerrymandering. It unnecessarily divided communities and violated the core principles of redistricting, which should include the drawing of districts that are compact, contiguous and have a common interest. In addition, the Senate plan failed to achieve broad bipartisan support and suffered from a number of other legal and constitutional deficiencies.
“The Governor’s action gives Senate Democrats another opportunity to involve Senate Republicans in the redistricting process and produce a plan that puts the people’s interests ahead of political self-interest. I once again encourage the Senate to consider the redistricting plan recommended by the Governor’s Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission. This plan could provide a solid foundation for future discussions.
"The Senate has long supported the concept of bipartisan redistricting, and they now have a chance to provide the leadership that is necessary to achieve bipartisan redistricting. This is the type of leadership the people of Virginia expect and deserve.”