Wednesday, April 6, 2011





The Howell Plan

Placing Partisan Interests Above All Else


"Everyone was consulted.  All Democrats have been given what they like."

Senator Janet Howell

"If I lose a few seats as a result of redistricting, and I'm in the majority, I'm not doing a very good job."

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw


  • It ignores "Communities of Interest," splitting more localities than the current map, the Watkins-Vogel Plan, and the Governor's Commission 2% Plan.
    • It splits 34 Counties and 10 Cities – 5 more than the current map, 8 more than the Watkins-Vogel Plan, and 16 more than the Governor's Commission Plan.
    • It splits 18 towns – that's 4 more than the number of towns split in the current map, the Watkins-Vogel Plan, and the Governor's Commission Plan combined.
    • Partisan affiliation is the sole community of interest consistently respected under the Howell Plan, trumping all others.


  • It disregards "one-person, one-vote."
    • Under the Howell Plan, there are 7,994 more people in the largest district than in the smallest – that's twice the deviation rate of the House of Delegates Plan – even though the House has smaller districts to begin with.
    • The difference between the smallest district and largest in the Howell Plan is greater than the Governor's Commission Plan (7,523), and more than four times greater than the Watkins-Vogel Plan (1,897) – which splits 24fewer localities.
    • Rather than being a random deviation, the Howell Plan deliberately "packs" voters into fast growing suburban and exurban districts, while limiting the size of Democrat-friendly districts.  Translation: If you live in a reliably Democratic area, your vote counts more under the Howell Plan.
    • Given the established growth patterns, the Howell Plan will only exacerbate the one-person, one vote issuesas this decade progresses.
    • The pattern in the Howell Plan violates the most recent Supreme Court ruling on one-person, one voteissues


  • It throws contiguity out the window.
    • The number of districts that have unconnected land masses – permitting travel only by watercraft to stay in the district – is tripled.
    • Under the current map, only District 6 is not contiguous by vehicular travel.  But under the Howell Plan, you'll need a boat to get around Districts 2, 3, and 6.
    • Under the Watkins-Vogel and Governor's Commission Plans, every district is contiguous by vehicular travel.


  • It is dominated by meandering, sprawling, grotesquely-shaped districts.
    • Only a small number of districts in the Howell Plan can be described as "compact."
    • Some of the more egregious examples:
      • District 3 begins in Suffolk, a city in the Norfolk media market bordering North Carolina, crosses the James River where there is no crossing (not even a ferry) and ends in King and Queen County on the Middle Peninsula.
      • District 11 begins at the Surry County (Norfolk media market) border and ends in Appomattox County (Lynchburg media market).
      • Districts 15, 19 and 20 intertwine amongst each other, divvying up territory along the North Carolina border from Mecklenburg in the east to Galax in the West.  The determining factor in divisions between the three districts: voting behavior.  District 20 collects every reliably Democratic and swing precinct with stiletto precision; if you live in a reliably Republican precinct, you're probably in District 15 or 19.


  • It restricts competitiveness.
    • The Howell Plan packs Republican voters into as few districts as possible – to maximize opportunities for Democratic nominees.
    • Under the Howell Plan, a "competitive" district is one that Barack Obama carried by 14 points or more.
    • The Howell Plan's "competitive" districts consistently favor Democrats.  For those living in its Republican Districts, Senators will be elected in the June primary.

    • Hope you're praying today! 


      Today is the Day of Prayer at the Virginia Capitol.  And the way Senator Janet Howell has redrawn the districts in Virginia, we're going to need lots of prayers.


      And lots of phone calls!


      The Senate Democrat's plan is so bad, that there is actually a game you can play:

      Howell or Rorsach?  Howell game here



      Some features of the plan:


      1) Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads loses not one, district, but TWO Senate districts.  There is enough population for 2 districts.


      2) Northern Virginia gets carved up.


      3) Districts are not contiguous, and in some cases, are even accessible unless you have boat!  Communities of interest are broken up.


      4) Designed to give a permanent majority in Senate districts, even if the overall Republican/Conservative vote is higher!


      5) Designed to give VA to Kaine and Obama in 2012.


      6) It even breaks up majority minority districts in violation of the Voting Rights Act.  But that's OK- the Dems have brought in big money, and high powered leftist lawyers to fight FOR this completely unfair plan. 


      7) In short - it is designed to thwart your vote, and create political fatigue so that it is too expensive to run Republican or conservative candidates in the Commonwealth. 


      It's an OUTRAGE.


      Both the Senate Republican and the Governor's plan are more fair, keep communities together, honor the voting rights act, and are designed to be fair and allow everyone's vote to count!


      Here's what to do :  <> the vote is Thursday at NOON.



      MAKE NOISE and demand that the Republican Senate Plan or the Governor's Plan be used, not the Democrat vote stacking plan.


      1) call into your local talk radio show-  do it by Thursday morning


      2) post comments on your local newspaper stories about redistricting - the politicians take those comments very seriously


      3) write letters to the editor


      4) ***If your state Senator is a Democrat***  Call immediately and demand that Janet Howell's plan be scrapped, and the Senate Republican or the Governor's plan be used.  If your Senator is a Republican, call them and encourage them to fight for our votes.  Make every vote count!  Do you know who your Senator is? 

       Who is my Senator??


      5) Spread the news!  Get your neighbors to call!  This will be posted on the Alliance website too.



      How will we take our country and state back?


      Precinct, by precinct, by precinct.  Especially if the Democrats get this stacked redistricting, organizing a good ground game becomes even more critical!  Please make plans to attend the Grassroots Campaign Leadership training on May 13 (evening) and 14 in Virginia Beach.  We have the privilege of

      having Chris Doss as our trainer.  Precinct organization is something anyone can do.  We are

      strongly encouraging everyone in a leadership position to understand how to do this.



      Karen Miner Hurd

      on behalf of the Virginia Tea Party Alliance Executive Board


      Shirley Black

      Kristen Cooper

      Dave Littel


      Virginia Tea Party Alliance

      on Facebook:

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