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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

West Virginia’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. Pursuant to a 2018 law, the state House of Delegates must be apportioned into 100 single-member districts. In prior years, the House comprised 67 districts in which a majority of members were elected from multi-member districts.

On Oct. 22, 2021 Gov. Justice signed the state’s congressional (SB 3033), state Senate (SB 3034), and state House (HB 301) districts into law.

In the 2010 cycle, the West Virginia legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 1008) and a state Senate plan (SB 1006) on Aug. 5, 2011; both were signed by the Governor on Aug. 18, 2011.  On Aug. 21, 2011, the state legislature passed a state House plan (HB 201), after an earlier bill was vetoed due to “technical errors”; HB 201 was signed on Sept. 2, 2011.

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Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Data

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The Latest Updates

Oct 22, 2021
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the state's redistricting plans into law: SB 3033 (congressional), SB 3034 (state senate), and HB 301 (state house). West Virginia becomes the fifth state to complete its congressional maps this cycle.
Oct 14, 2021
The West Virginia state legislature has adopted a final redistricting plan for the state's two congressional districts. Gov. Jim Justice is expected to sign SB 3033 into law.
Oct 11, 2021
The West Virginia Senate Select Committee on Redistricting voted to advance the "Trump 11" congressional map and "Trump 8" state senate map (named for state Senator and committee chair Charles Trump) for full consideration in the state Senate.
Oct 11, 2021
The West Virginia House House Select Committee on Redistricting approved a redistricting plan for the House of Delegates featuring 100 single member districts as required under a 2018 state law. The new plan will replace a current map that features 20 multi-member districts,
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Institution

West Virginia’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Timing

West Virginia law does not set a particular deadline for drawing congressional or state legislative lines.  The current legislative session began on Jan. 13, 2021, and is currently scheduled to end no later than Apr. 10, 2021.  Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by Jan. 29, 2022.  [W.Va. Const. art. VI, §§ 18, 22W.Va. Code § 3-5-7(c)]

West Virginia law prohibits redrawing state legislative districts mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [W.Va. Const. art. VI, § 10]

Public input

The legislature has not announced any specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.

Criteria

Like all states, West Virginia must comply with constitutional equal population requirements.  State law further provides that state legislative districts be equal in population, as nearly as practicable, but the state courts have interpreted this provision to impose no mandate more strict than the presumptive 10% federal threshold.  [W.V. Const. art. VI, § 4W.V. Code § 1-2-1; [West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant, 730 S.E.2d 368, 383-84, 394 (W. Va. 2012)]]

West Virginia must also, like all states, must abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

The West Virginia constitution further requires that congressional districts be formed of contiguous counties, and that they be compact; state Senate districts must be compact, contiguous, and bounded by county lines where doing so is not otherwise unlawful.  The state courts have given the legislature a great deal of flexibility to gauge compactness for itself and to cross county lines for state Senate districts in order to achieve equal population, and have emphasized that there is no similar county-line mandate for state Delegate districts.  When the legislature in 2011 last drew state legislative districts, it also declared that it would take into account communities of interest. State legislative districts may be multimember districts. [W.Va. Const. art. I, § 4; art. VI, § 4W.V. Code § 1-2-1; West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant, 730 S.E.2d 368, 384-86, 394-95 (W. Va. 2012); Holloway v. Hechler, 817 F.Supp. 618 (S.D.W.Va. 1992)]

The state courts have also rejected the notion that partisan gerrymandering is impermissible under state law.  [West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant, 730 S.E.2d 368, 390 (W. Va. 2012)]

2010 cycle

The West Virginia legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 1008) and a state Senate plan (SB 1006) on Aug. 5, 2011; both were signed by the Governor on Aug. 18, 2011.  On Aug. 21, 2011, the state legislature passed a state House plan (HB 201), after an earlier bill was vetoed due to “technical errors”; HB 201 was signed on Sept. 2, 2011.

The congressional plan was challenged in federal court, and the state legislative plans were challenged in state court; the maps were each upheld.  [Tennant v. Jefferson Cnty. Comm’n, 133 S. Ct. 3 (2012); West Virginia ex rel. Cooper v. Tennant, 730 S.E.2d 368 (W. Va. 2012)]

2000 cycle

The West Virginia legislature passed a congressional plan (HB 510) and a state legislative plan (HB 511), both signed on Oct. 4, 2001.

The state legislative plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld.  [Deem v. Manchin, 188 F. Supp. 2d 651 (N.D.W.Va. 2002), aff’d sub nom. Unger v. Manchin, 536 U.S. 935 (2002)]

2020 West Virginia Maps Available for Download

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West Virginia | 2020
2020 West Virginia Maps
West Virginia’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature,...
Number of Maps 2
Last Updated Oct 22, 2021
Cycle 2020