Although redistricting is often thought of as something best left to the politicians and the experts, nothing could be further from the truth. Every voter has a vital stake in redistricting because it determines the composition of districts that elect public officials at every level of government.

This report examines local redistricting in Virginia from the viewpoint of racial fairness. You will find inside a brief history of redistricting in Virginia over the last twenty years and tips on how you can have an impact on redistricting today. If you have been involved in redistricting before, you might want to pay close attention to the changes in the law that have taken place since the early 1990s, when Virginia's local governments last went through this process.

One warning in advance: the law in the voting area is always evolving, and sometimes rather complex questions arise. The first part of this document presents a general overview of the redistricting process in Virginia, but it is by no means intended to offer definitive answers. The question and answer primer on the Voting Rights Act that follows delves deeper into redistricting law. But it also may not answer all the questions you have. The last section, which is a list of contacts, is the place to go when your needs move beyond the text of this document.