To the editor:
In “Our View: A rare chance for redistricting reform” in the Aug. 20 Alexandria Times, the editorial board states, in writing about good policy, politics and needed change, that “Virginia voters have a similar opportunity this fall to enact important change in the Commonwealth: redistricting reform.” “Opportunity” is right; but I’m going to take it one step further than the board’s fair-minded commentary and pronounce it a necessity.
As citizens and voters, we must come to terms with our own responsibility for our elected representatives. In the end, it really is us that holds them accountable. If these last four years have taught us anything, it’s that our democracy requires our involvement and an unflinching commitment to more than a modicum of truth and standards in practice. It’s up to us – the voters – to demand fairness and equanimity, even from those who share our same party affiliation.
The amendment on the ballot this fall is a step toward laying the foundation for that fairness by removing the legislature’s exclusive hold on district map-drawing and allowing citizens to participate in the process. If citizens are serious about reducing polarization and excessive political hostility, then redistricting reform is a necessity.
Redistricting reform will help produce fairer maps and create more competitive districts, thereby reducing political extremes.
Frankly, after what we’ve all been through as citizens of these United States in recent years, citizens of this Commonwealth should shout a resounding “yes” for Amendment One as a signal that they’re willing to assume the reins of a more engaged electorate. We really are “of, for and by” the people.
-Pamela Berg, Alexandria