Members of the Alexandria Local Action Group from OneVirginia2021 will again be at the polls on June 12 for the primary elections, educating Alexandrians about gerrymandering and urging them to raise their voices in opposition.
As many as 20 local volunteers are expected at polling stations in the Port City throughout the day, when they will be talking to voters about the problem of gerrymandering and asking them to sign OneVirginia2021’s action letter.
Each signed action letter will generate an email to that voter’s Delegate and State Senator, as well as the Governor. That action letter calls for a transparent redistricting process and the appointment of an independent commission to draw electoral boundaries.
Last November, as Alexandrians cast their votes for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and the House of Delegates, 21 trained volunteers were at five polling stations in Alexandria to discuss gerrymandering. Alexandria volunteers collected 460 signatures in Alexandria and Fairfax County, 436 of which were from Alexandrians.
The Alexandria LAG is part of OneVirginia2021, a statewide nonpartisan issue group that aims to make Virginia’s electoral maps fairer to voters from all parties.
“The only way for gerrymandering to become a thing of the past in this state is through Virginians raising their voices in opposition. Voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio have recently shown the power of grassroots efforts to end gerrymandering. Our signature drive in Alexandria, coupled with similar efforts across the Commonwealth, is part of that same drive,” said Giselle Caruso, co-leader of the Alexandria
LAG. “This direct action will show our elected leaders in Richmond that their constituents are serious about electoral reform.”
According to software company Azavea, which analyzed U.S. Census data from 2010, Virginia is the fifth most gerrymandered state in the country. This increases political polarization and protects incumbent elected officials, meaning they are often less responsive to their constituents. Virginia’s gerrymander is a bipartisan issue: the State Senate’s lines favors Democrats while the House of Delegates favors Republicans.