Repost from Richmond Times Dispatch.
A new state policy to redistribute the count of Virginia’s prison population based on inmates’ last-known addresses for the purposes of political redistricting could boost representation in the state’s city centers, leading with Norfolk and Richmond.
Rural localities, already facing shrinking populations, saw the steepest declines from removing prison populations from their locality counts, a dynamic that could shift power toward Democrat-controlled urban centers.
The change in how Virginia counts inmates only applies to localities’ populations for the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts. The Virginia Supreme Court has taken on the job of redrawing the boundaries after the state’s new redistricting commission bogged down along partisan lines.
Virginia is one of 11 states that reallocates its prison population count in this way.