Another lawsuit filed to force House of Delegates race this November

Another Richmond area resident has filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia claiming that the House of Delegates boundaries in place for the November 2021 election are unconstitutional. The action comes two days after a three-judge panel ruled that Paul Goldman did not have the legal standing to make the claim that the Board of Elections erred in certifying elections for outdated legislative boundaries. 

Jeffrey Thomas Jr. had filed to be added to a suit filed by Paul Goldman last October, but Monday’s opinion rendered that request to intervene moot. Yesterday Thomas filed a “petition of mandamus” that asks the court to consider his claim that he has suffered a legal injury because the 71st House District where he resides has a 2020 Census Count that contains more people than it should. 

“Plaintiff and all other voters and residents in [House District] 71-2011 have had their voting strength and political representation unconstitutionally diluted or weakened by their failure of Defendants to conduct, enact, or oversee decennial constitutional reapportionment, redistricting, or elections,” reads paragraph 10 of the petition.

Read the petition of mandamus yourself to get a sense of the legal arguments

Paragraph 17 of the petition states that the smallest House District has a population of 71,122 and the largest has a population of 130,082 according to the 2020 Census.  Thomas states his own district is ten percent over the ideal size and that the Virginia Constitution doesn’t permit a deviation above five percent. Paragraph 29 and 30 point out that Thomas is now within the new 78th House District, which has a population of 87,774 people.

Thomas seeks a repeat of 1982 when a federal court ordered elections for the House of Delegates for similar reasons in the Cosner v. Dalton case.

“Conducting House of Delegates elections in 2022 under constitutional lines is a proper remedy under the Cosner precedent,” reads paragraph 58.  

Thomas is requesting that attorneys for the Commonwealth of Virginia make a reply or file a motion to dismiss within 48 hours of their receipt of the petition. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the June 9, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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