On the Road Again

Matthew Scoble
Unite Virginia Executive Director
Unite Virginia
April 30, 2021

As I was driving my car this week, I got to thinking: democracy reform is incredibly similar to a long road trip. Oftentimes, the journey begins with a lot of excitement about reaching the destination. On the journey, there are stops that remind us of the progress made and frustrating detours that slow us down. And even in the peaceful moments where you can pause and admire a beautiful place along the way, there is a heaviness in realizing that you are still not at the final destination.

I think the same can be said about the make-up of our electoral landscape in Virginia. The last few years have represented significant progress for our Commonwealth. Making strides towards an improved redistricting process, an option to pilot ranked choice voting, and upgrading our vote by mail system is something our state should be proud of. However, as we stand and admire the landscape, I am reminded that we still have a long road ahead of us. We have a responsibility to reach our final destination — a Virginia that puts voters first.

1. “Voters ask, ‘Why can't I use this for all my elections?’” 

On the road to achieving more representative election outcomes for all Virgninians is ensuring successful implementation of Virginia’s new ranked choice voting pilot program. The latest from VPM reports on how municipalities across the Commonwealth are beginning to consider implementation of RCV. 

Once voters have the opportunity to experience ranked choice voting first-hand, they begin to ask, why not use it for all elections?

2. Unite America Institute's report on "The Primary Problem" 

Clearly defining the problems within our political system can be difficult. Partisanship, polarization, corruption, etc. all play a role in the breakdown of our politics. But what’s driving these forces? . 

In a groundbreaking report from the Unite America Institute, America’s partisan primaries are identified as the source of much of our country’s political dysfunction and polarization. Read the report, watch the video, or read this piece in the Atlantic to learn more about America’s primary problem.

3. Watch Out for Gerrymandering

Fair maps create fair elections. Period. However, the reality of our nation is that our redistricting processes are far from perfect. In fact, our friends at RepresentUs identified 35 states as high risk or extreme risk for gerrymandering. Virginia was the only southern state not at extreme risk for gerrymandering

The redistricting amendment Virginians passed in November will go a long way in protecting the rights of Virginia voters, but we can’t back down yet. Stay up to date with the latest from the redistricting commission by following them on Twitter, and check out our latest blog about their first meeting. 

4. Community Mapping Tool & Other Resources for redistricting 

Our friends at OneVirginia2021 have created a plethora of resources to help you learn more about redistricting in Virginia and get involved in creating change. From learning more about the redistricting process, to reading updates, to drawing your own maps, this is a great resource for all Virginians thinking about getting involved in creating a more fair and equitable redistricting process.

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