Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 24.2. Elections
Chapter 3. Election Districts, Precincts, and Polling Places
10/16/2021

Article 2.1. Reapportionment of Local Election Districts.

§ 24.2-304.1. At-large and district elections; reapportionment and redistricting of districts or wards; limits.

A. Except as otherwise specifically limited by general law or special act, the governing body of each county, city, or town may provide by ordinance for the election of its members on any of the following bases: (i) at large from the county, city, or town; (ii) from single-member or multi-member districts or wards, or any combination thereof; or (iii) from any combination of at-large, single-member, and multi-member districts or wards. A change in the basis for electing the members of the governing body shall not constitute a change in the form of county government.

B. If the members are elected from districts or wards and other than entirely at large from the locality, the districts or wards shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory and shall be so constituted as to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district or ward. In 1971 and every 10 years thereafter, the governing body of each such locality shall reapportion the representation among the districts or wards, including, if the governing body deems it appropriate, increasing or diminishing the number of such districts or wards, in order to give, as nearly as is practicable, representation on the basis of population.

C. For the purposes of redistricting and reapportioning representation in 2021 and every 10 years thereafter, the governing body of a county, city, or town shall use the most recent decennial population figures for such county, city, or town from the United States Bureau of the Census, as adjusted by the Division of Legislative Services pursuant to § 24.2-314. The census data for these redistricting and apportionment purposes will not include any population figure that is not allocated to specific census blocks within the Commonwealth, even though that population may have been included in the apportionment population figures of the Commonwealth for the purpose of allocating United States House of Representatives seats among the states.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of general law or special act, the governing body of a county, city, or town shall not reapportion the representation in the governing body at any time other than that required following the decennial census, except as (i) provided by law upon a change in the boundaries of the county, city, or town that results in an increase or decrease in the population of the county, city, or town of more than one percent, (ii) the result of a court order, (iii) the result of a change in the form of government, or (iv) the result of an increase or decrease in the number of districts or wards other than at-large districts or wards. The foregoing provisions notwithstanding, the governing body subsequent to the decennial redistricting may adjust district or ward boundaries in order that the boundaries might coincide with state legislative or congressional district boundaries; however, no adjustment shall affect more than five percent of the population of a ward or district or 250 persons, whichever is lesser. If districts created by a reapportionment enacted subsequent to a decennial reapportionment are invalid under the provisions of this subsection, the immediately preexisting districts shall remain in force and effect until validly reapportioned in accordance with law.

1995, c. 249; 2000, c. 884; 2001, Sp. Sess. I, c. 6; 2002, c. 127; 2012, c. 357; 2013, c. 483; 2020, cc. 1229, 1265.

§ 24.2-304.2. Governing body authorized to expend funds for reapportionment.

The governing body of each county, city, or town is authorized to expend funds and employ persons as it may deem necessary to carry out the responsibilities relating to reapportionment provided by law.

1995, c. 249.

§ 24.2-304.3. Recording reapportionment ordinance; notice requirements.

A copy of the ordinance reapportioning representation in the governing body of a county, city, or town, including a description of the boundaries and a map showing the boundaries of the districts or wards, shall be recorded in the official minutes of the governing body.

The clerk of the county, city, or town shall send a certified copy of the ordinance, including a description of the boundaries and a Geographic Information System (GIS) map showing the boundaries of the districts or wards, to the local electoral board, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Department of Elections, and the Division of Legislative Services. Any county, city, or town that does not have GIS capabilities may request the Department of Elections to create on its behalf a GIS map showing the boundaries of the districts or wards as set out in the ordinance, and the Department of Elections shall create such a map.

1995, c. 249; 2019, cc. 777, 778.

§ 24.2-304.4. Mandamus action for failure to reapportion districts or wards.

Whenever the governing body of any county, city or town fails to perform the duty of reapportioning the representation on the governing body among the districts or wards of the county, city, or town, or fails to change the boundaries of districts or wards, as prescribed by law, mandamus shall lie in favor of any citizen of such county, city, or town, to compel the performance of such duty.

Whenever the governing body of any county, city or town changes the boundaries, or increases or diminishes the number of districts or wards, or reapportions the representation in the governing body as prescribed by law, the action shall not be subject to judicial review, unless it is alleged that the representation is not proportional to the population of the district or ward. If such allegation is made in a bill of complaint filed in the circuit court for the county, city or town, the court shall determine whether the action of the governing body complies with the constitutional requirements for redistricting and reapportionment. Appeals from the court's decision shall be as in any other suit.

1995, c. 249.

§ 24.2-304.5. Notification of certain civil actions.

Any county, city, or town made a defendant in any civil action challenging the legality of its election district boundaries shall immediately notify the Attorney General of the pending civil action for review pursuant to § 2.2-508.

1995, c. 249.

§ 24.2-304.6. Effect of reapportionment on appointments and terms of local officers, school board and planning commission members.

County, city, or town officers, including members of the school board or planning commission, in office on the effective date of a reapportionment or redistricting ordinance, shall complete their terms of office, regardless of loss of residency in a particular district due to reapportionment or redistricting.

1995, c. 249.