Virginia’s 8th and 11th congressional districts theoretically could come out of pending redistricting largely unscathed, although significant changes to the 10th District are almost assured.
With an official U.S. Census Bureau population of 8,631,393 (up 7.9 percent from 2010), Virginia’s 11 congressional districts will average 784,672 residents once they are redrawn. Most likely, they will include up to 5 percent more or fewer residents than that target number.
Both the 8th District (population 798,257, or 13,585 more than the target number) and the 11th District (805,916 residents, 21,244 higher than the target) theoretically could see their boundaries untouched and stay within the 5-percent margin of error. Though unlikely in practice, it is possible in principle.
The 10th District, however, has a new census population count of 885,422, or 100,750 residents more than the target population, so significant carving will be required no matter what.
The Virginia Redistricting Commission, set up by voters last year, has a little more than a month to propose congressional districts to the General Assembly. State lawmakers, some of whom sit on the redistricting panel, will have the option of voting for or against the new districts, but cannot amend them.
If a majority in either house of the legislature votes to reject the lines, the matter will go to the Virginia Supreme Court, which will supervise drawing lines itself.
The new lines would go into effect for the 2022 congressional election.
Of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts, only one – the 9th, in the southwestern corner of the commonwealth – actually lost population since the 2010 census. Its count of residents declined 4.2 percent.