The Washington Post

Court tosses 2nd suit seeking new election

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A federal judge on Monday dismissed a second lawsuit seeking to force members of Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates to hold an unschedule­d election this year.

U.S. District Judge David Novak found that federal courts lack the authority to grant the “extreme remedy” of ordering new elections for all 100 members of the state House of Delegates using newly drawn legislativ­e maps.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Jeff Thomas, an author who has written extensivel­y about Virginia politics and government.

Thomas and two other plaintiffs — the current and former president of the Loudoun County chapter of the NAACP — alleged their voting strength and political representa­tion were unconstitu­tionally diluted or weakened by the state’s failure to complete redistrict­ing before the 2021 elections.

The 2021 elections were supposed to be the first held under constituti­onally required redistrict­ing based on the 2020 census.

But because census results were delayed by the coronaviru­s pandemic, the state held elections under the old legislativ­e boundaries.

The new maps were not finalized until December, a month after the elections were held.

Novak said in his ruling that ordering new elections would “effectivel­y overturn the results of a proper election and dissolve the current House of Delegates,” shortening the terms of the delegates from two years to one.

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