CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – West Virginia lawmakers met in a special session this Monday to discuss redistricting.
After the results of the recent census, it was determined that West Virginia would be losing a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the past few weeks, lawmakers have met multiple times to draw and propose new district maps.
Currently, the state is divided into three districts and has three representatives. Lawmakers in both the West Virginia House and Senate need to propose a new map that separates the state’s 55 counties into two districts.
The maps need to divide the population as evenly as possible, with just under 900,000 residents in each one.
There have been many maps proposed, with main differences being how each of the state’s largest counties are divided. For instance, some maps have large counties like Kanawha and Monongalia in the same district, others have them separated.
But that’s not the only change the legislature is deciding on. They are also working to draw new district maps for the state house and senate.
In 2018 a law passed in the legislature changed how house seats would be divided. Currently, there are 67 districts for the West Virginia house, and many of them have multiple members.
The new law simplifies things and requires that there be 100 districts, each with one member. So in the future, instead of residents voting on multiple house members, they will vote on only one.
The special session will last throughout Tuesday. The maps they finally decide on need to be voted on in the legislature, and then signed by Governor Justice.