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October 31 2021 12:00 am

Senate redistricting committee meets ahead of potential special session

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It’s a once-in-a-decade process that’s currently underway at the state Capitol.

On Friday, the Senate redistricting committee met to narrow down the state senate and congressional map choices ahead of the Special Session.

The committee of nine senators has the task of narrowing down the map options to one or two for recommendation to the full Senate and legislature.

“The tricky part is there are 15 or 20 different variables that affect your decision making and so that creates an infinite number of combinations, we do have clarified priorities on what’s constitutionally required versus what is preferred, versus what is a goal or what is absolutely mandatory,” said Senator Chandler Swope (R-Mercer).

The committee has already eliminated three of the 24 congressional district maps.

After West Virginia’s population drop, the state will now have only two representatives in Congress as opposed to three.

Unlike the state senate maps, by constitutional law, congressional maps cannot cross county lines.
Senator Swopes says gerrymandering has not come up.

“There are so many mathematical equations that it’s almost impossible to get down to the precinct vote and which party has more votes than one or the other; that information is not even on the maps that we’re doing now, we just see total population,” he said.

“Governor Justice is expected to call a special session on Monday but committee members say they will likely not be voting on redistricting.

Still, Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan), chairman of the committee says they will take the opportunity to show the maps to the full senate to get some feedback.

“Something I would not want to do is have this committee report a map or maps to the floor of the senate and have the other 25 members say ‘you guys are nuts,'” he said.

The Senate Redistricting Committee will meet again Monday at 3 p.m.

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