Letter to the Editor: Protesting Vote Suppression

Letter to the Editor: Protesting Vote Suppression

I am fed up with gerrymandering and other tactics politicians use to stack the votes in their favor! Gerrymandering distorts the electoral process, undermines democracy, and renders legislative elections a meaningless exercise. I am a tax-paying citizen of Virginia, but my one vote does not count as one vote. Here in Virginia, state legislators redraw district lines, which means that the party in power of the State House and Senate can draw the lines to serve their own interests, not those of our communities. Since Virginia has been Republican controlled, that means that my Democratic vote has less value in my district than a Republican vote does in another district.

According to Governing.com, Virginia is ranked as one of the most gerrymandered states in the country (fifth worst!), both on the congressional and state levels based on the lack of compactness and contiguity of its districts. Throughout the State, counties and cities are broken in half or into multiple pieces to create heavily partisan districts. Most of the “elections” in Virginia therefore result in no change in party because of these gerrymandered districts!

With Republicans in control of the Virginia House and Senate, the gerrymandering, not only suppresses Democrat votes, but has had a detrimental impact on persons of color causing distinct echoes of Jim Crow laws. Are we going to allow discriminatory disenfranchisement to proceed unchecked in our State? I urge all Virginians and Virginian Representatives to support changes to the Virginia constitution and enactment of laws that would strengthen voting rights, make voting easier and fairer, and eliminate unfair redistricting that politicians use to keep themselves in power.

Nancy Blethen