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Fairfax County proposes voting precinct revisions to reflect new district maps

Among other changes, Fairfax County is proposing to create two Westbriar precincts after the existing one was split by redistricting (via Fairfax County)

More than half of Fairfax County’s 247 voting precincts need to be revised to eliminate conflicts created by last year’s redistricting process.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to hold a public hearing on March 8 to get feedback on proposed boundary adjustments that will consolidate precincts, create new ones, and move or establish new polling places.

The changes would affect 154 precincts, 54 which were split by the new electoral district maps drawn by the Virginia Supreme Court. Another 100 will be affected by the county’s efforts to fix the split districts.

A total of 29,000 registered voters, or 4% of the voter roll, would be affected by the changes, according to the county.

The county underwent its own redistricting process last year, with the board ultimately approving maps in December that moved seven precincts. The new maps received a certificate of no objection from the Virginia Attorney General’s office in January.

However, the Virginia General Assembly passed an amendment in 2020 that prohibited the use of split precincts except in very limited cases, requiring precincts to be contained within a single magisterial, state senate, delegate, or congressional district. It also bars localites from creating a new precinct with more than 5,000 voters.

Before the amendment’s passage, a single precinct could serve voters in two different legislative districts, so voters would receive different ballots based on the district they resided.

The amendment specifically says a split precinct can only be legal is if the area has less than 100 voters, and the split can’t be avoided.

The Fairfax County Office of Elections’ plan for addressing the currently split precincts has to follow four guidelines:

  • Disrupt the fewest voters possible
  • Ensure the affected precinct boundaries and polling places meet all legal requirements, such as location and accessibility
  • Provide adequate parking and other facilities at polling places
  • Minimize the number of extremely small or extremely large precincts

Once the changes are approved by the Board of Supervisors, they must be reviewed by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, which could take up to 60 days, and meet the standards set by the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

The county is required to have the plan in place before the primary elections on June 21. A full list of the proposed changes can be found in the package for yesterday’s board meeting.

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