This Week with Del. Matt Fariss

Early in-person voting began Sept. 18. Virginians will see two proposed amendments to the state constitution on this year’s ballot:

Question 1: The Redistricting Commission Amendment would change the way Virginia handles political redistricting. A “yes” vote supports transferring the power to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts from the state legislature to a redistricting commission made up of state legislators and citizens.

This is something that has been a decade in the making. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment to even get it onto the ballot. For the first time, if passed, this process will be done not only in the sunlight, but with partisan motives expressly removed. As of now, the system works like this — the majority party goes into a back room somewhere with a computer and comes out with maps they like. Public input is limited, and one chamber can hold the other chamber hostage. With the amendment, all of these processes come out into the sunlight — with an explicit requirement that “how people vote” will have no impact on the maps.

If Question 1 is approved, it would create a 16-member Virginia Redistricting Commission before the constitutionally mandated 2021 redistricting. 

Question 2: The Motor Vehicle Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans Amendment asks if one automobile or pickup truck owned by a U.S. military or Virginia National Guard veteran with a 100 percent service-connected disability should be exempt from state and local property taxes. A “yes” vote supports the exemption.

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Times Virginian newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.timesvirginian.com/subscriber_services to view the full article in the e-edition version.