The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors completed the redistricting of voting precincts during their public meeting last week. Under the direction of Stylian P. “Stel” Parthemos, deputy county attorney, lines were drawn adjusting the number of voters in each magisterial district to within five percent of optimum population of 63,247 per district. Supervisors were able to make comments to the Assistant County Attorney but in the end had a choice between two plans.
During the meeting, discussions by the Supervisors centered on which plan was best, plan A garnering more attention and an altered version winning in a 3 – 2 vote. One of the no votes was cast by Marleen Durfee, Matoaca District Supervisor who suggested, during a soliloquy that lasted over 20 minutes, which Supervisors Dan Gecker, Dorothy Jaeckle and Art Warner had conspired to gerrymander the plan to fit their political needs.
“I never saw the changes,” Durfee said, demanding that the board defer the decision until she had a chance to review the alteration. “Did you see the changes?” she asked Jim Holland, Dale District Supervisor. “No,” he replied cementing the two negative votes.
Governor Bob McDonnell signed the new redistricting maps into law on Friday, April 30. According to maps provided by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Kirk Cox (R), the 66 District of the House of Delegates lost areas east of Interstate 95 and north of Rt. 10 in Chesterfield giving some of that area up to Riley Ingram (R). Voting precincts such as North Chester, Elizabeth Davis, Beulah, Dutch Gap, Gates, Bird and Five Forks will now be part of Ingram’s House District 62.
Delores McQuinn, (D) House District 70, will now represent Chesterfield precincts Falling creek, Belmont, Chippenham, Meadowbrook and Southside. Roxanne Robinson (R) lost much of her eastern Chesterfield territory.
State Senator Steve Martin, (R) District 7, lost some precincts in southeastern Chesterfield including Harrowgate, Belmont, Ettrick, Matoaca, Swift Creek and Davis, but gained a huge area in the west including areas well beyond Amelia.
Congressional redistricting will not be done anytime soon. Members of the state legislation redistricting committee indicated that the Federal election is over a year away; there is no rush. In the meantime the Justice Department has 60 days to review all redistricting.