May 31, 2011- One District, One Delegate?

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

The candidates in West Virginia's gubernatorial race weigh in on whether the state needs more single-member districts in the House of Delegates.

As West Virginia lawmakers contemplate how to redraw the state's election districts, the candidates in the gubernatorial race are weighing in on whether the state needs more single-member districts in the House of Delegates.

The state already has 36 single-member districts, but the 30th District elects seven people to the House.

Republican Bill Maloney issued a statement Tuesday calling for 100 districts, each electing one delegate:

"As governor, I'd veto any redistricting plan that doesn't provide fair and equal representation to the people of West Virginia," Maloney said. "We need to give West Virginia back to the people. West Virginians deserve fairness and accountability in all legislative districts. The legislature must do what's right and follow the democratic principle of 'one person, one vote.' Each and every West Virginian should be represented by a single delegate."

Some groups, including the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce have called for single-member districts for several years.

Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who is acting as governor, told the Associated Press he supports more single-member districts, saying he would not veto a plan that includes more of them. He did not go as far as Maloney in saying the state needs to go to all single-member districts. "But, he also says he respects the Legislature's process for revising district boundaries in response to the 2010 Census," the AP says.

Some of West Virginia's neighbors, including Virginia, elect all members to the House of Delegates through single-member districts.
House Speaker Rick Thompson recently announced a group of 30 delegates that make up the House's redistricting committee. Lawmakers are expected to convene in a special redistricting session this summer to vote on a final plan before the Oct. 4 general election.

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