Speaker Cox asks Eastern District Court to stay remedial map process, move 2019 House of Delegates election deadlines

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Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, in his capacity as Intervenor-Defendant, is asking the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to stay the development of a remedial redistricting map given the pending United States Supreme Court case. In a motion filed Wednesday, as an alternative, Cox asked the Eastern District Court to move the date of the 2019 primary elections for the House of Delegates to Tuesday, September 10 and to adjust the other deadlines accordingly.

“The United States Supreme Court will hear our appeal early in 2019 and it makes sense to pause the process of developing a remedial map while that case is taken up,” said Speaker Cox. “The publication of a remedial map would create significant confusion and require state and local election officials to begin an inordinate amount of work preparing to use a map that may not even be necessary if the Supreme Court rules in our favor. We are asking the Court to stay the development of the remedial map until the Supreme Court can make a final decision in this case.”

Cox added, “Regardless of the lower court’s decision on the stay, there is a great deal of uncertainty around what the map will look like. With filing deadlines, nomination contests, and other election activities already approaching, the possibility of two maps could create unnecessary chaos for candidates, election officials, and voters. Of the thousand possible outcomes of the Supreme Court’s decision, only one completely affirms the lower court’s decision.”

“You could easily foresee a scenario where a nomination contest is completely invalidated by the Supreme Court’s decision, or a scenario where a candidate declares in one district only to find out later that they have been moved into another district. Election and party officials could be forced to spend hours of manpower and significant resources to redo paperwork and official election actions. Tens of thousands of voters will not know where they should register or vote, or even which candidates they will have to choose from,” said Cox.

“Moving the date of the primary elections for the House of Delegates, and all of the deadlines and requirements that stem from that date, is fair and reasonable for all parties — especially the voters.”

The current Supreme Court case is set to be argued in February. Speaker Cox and the House of Delegates plan to ask the Court to render an opinion by mid-May. With that timeline, there will be a lengthy period of time to implement the constitutional map and administer the election. The full brief can be found here. The key dates proposed for the House of Delegates elections are as follows:

  • Deadline for candidate qualification – July 17, 2019
  • Deadline for party officials to notify state election officials of the names of qualified candidates – July 22, 2019
  • Deadline for primaries or nominating conventions – September 10, 2019

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