Chesterfield’s magisterial redistricting plan has been finalized, as well as its remedy for voting precinct splits that were created by the magisterial redistricting and changes to the county’s congressional and state legislative district boundaries made by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
As a result, residents who live in the affected precincts may cast their ballots for November’s general election at a different polling place than they're accustomed to.
The Code of Virginia compels all localities to redraw the boundaries of their magisterial districts every 10 years in conjunction with the release of updated U.S. Census data. The purpose is to ensure that districts have as close to the same number of residents as possible.
The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors approved a new magisterial district map last November and the county submitted it for consideration by the Virginia Attorney General's Office prior to the Dec. 31, 2021 deadline.
Likewise, state law requires that each voting precinct be wholly contained within a single magisterial district, congressional district, Senate district and House of Delegates district. All precincts must have more than 100 registered voters and fewer than 5,000 registered voters.
While Chesterfield’s magisterial redistricting plan resulted in three split precincts, the state Supreme Court’s 2021 congressional and state legislative redistricting caused an additional 12 precinct splits across the county.
At its March 9 meeting, Board of Supervisors adopted a local ordinance to cure the precinct splits, establish polling places for newly created precincts and move the precincts that were redrawn into new magisterial districts.
According to Chesterfield County Attorney Jeff Mincks, notices will be sent out to alert voters of the redistricting changes.
Virginia law requires general registrars to send notice to all registered voters at least 15 days prior to the next general election.
Missy Vera, Chesterfield’s interim general registrar, noted she will not wait until that deadline to communicate with registered voters. But because the county has no primary election scheduled next month, her office is awaiting guidance from the Virginia Department of Elections on completion of the redistricting process in the state’s election and registration system, which generates updated voter cards.
The Department of Elections currently is focused on localities that will conduct primary elections.
Each of the more than 250,000 registered voters in Chesterfield, whether they were affected by the redistricting or not, will receive a new voter card prior to November’s general election.
The following is a summary of changes adopted through the ordinance:
* Part of the Skinquarter voting precinct, which was split between the Matoaca and Midlothian districts, is incorporated into the Roseland precinct.
The Skinquarter polling place is Mt. Hermon Baptist Church; the Roseland polling place is New Life UMC.
* The Woolridge precinct, which was split between Matoaca and Clover Hill, is cured by creating a new precinct (Woolridge North).
Woolridge North is in Clover Hill and its polling place is Woolridge Elementary School; Woolridge South is in Matoaca and its polling place is Cosby High School.
* The Pocoshock precinct, which was split between Midlothian and Dale, is cured by creating a new precinct (Pocoshock North).
Pocoshock North is in Midlothian, Pocoshock South is in Dale and the polling place for both precincts is Manchester Middle School. (Voters will enter through different doors to cast their ballots, depending on their assigned precinct).
* The Manchester precinct is moved in its entirety from Clover Hill to Dale, while the entire Tomahawk precinct is shifted from Matoaca to Clover Hill.
Congressional redistricting caused six precinct splits between districts 1 and 4: Huguenot (Midlothian), Reams (Clover Hill), Wagstaff (Clover Hill), Genito (Clover Hill), Clover Hill (Clover Hill) and Beach (Matoaca).
* The Huguenot precinct split is cured by creating the new Buford precinct.
Huguenot’s polling place is Brighton Green Community Center; Buford’s is the Islamic Center of Virginia.
* The Reams precinct split is cured by creating the new North Courthouse precinct.
Reams’ polling place is Reams Elementary School; North Courthouse’s is the North Courthouse Road Library.
* The Wagstaff precinct split is cured by moving a portion of Wagstaff into the Genito precinct.
Wagstaff’s polling place is Central Chesterfield Ruritan Association; Genito’s is Providence Elementary School.
* The Beach precinct split is cured by moving a portion of Beach into the Bailey Bridge precinct.
Beach’s polling place is Second Branch Baptist Church; Bailey Bridge’s is Bailey Bridge Middle School.
* Chesterfield also has received a waiver from the State Board of Elections to administer both Genito and Clover Hill as split precincts
HOUSE OF DELEGATES DISTRICTS
House of Delegates redistricting created 5 split precincts: Sycamore (Midlothian), Birkdale (Matoaca), Carver (Bermuda), Harrowgate (Bermuda), Falling Creek (Dale).
* The Sycamore precinct split between House districts 72 and 73 is cured by creating the new Walton Park precinct.
Sycamore’s polling place is Midlothian Middle school; Walton Park’s is Stonehenge Golf and Country Club.
* The Birkdale precinct split between House districts 73 and 74 is cured by creating the new Dry Creek precinct, which includes a portion of the Cosby precinct.
Birkdale’s polling place is Spring Run Elementary School; Dry Creek’s is Swift Creek Baptist Church; and Cosby’s is Cosby High School.
* The Carver precinct split between House districts 74 and 75 is cured by moving a portion of Carver into the Wells precinct.
Carver’s polling place is Carver Middle School; Wells’ is C.C. Wells Elementary School.
* The Harrowgate precinct split between House districts 74 and 75 is cured by creating the new Happy Hill precinct.
The polling place for both precincts is Harrowgate Elementary School.
* The Falling Creek precinct split between House districts 76 and 81 is cured by creating the new Falling Creek East precinct and adding the Hopkins precinct to Falling Creek.
Falling Creek’s polling place is Falling Creek Middle School; Falling Creek East’s is Falling Creek Elementary School.
* For efficiency, the county also is combining the Chippenham and Ridgedale precincts and the Bird and North Bird precincts, all of which are in the Dale District.
* The Gates precinct in the Dale District was split between Senate districts 12 and 15. As a result of that, there will be a new precinct created known as Gates East.
Gates Elementary School is the polling place for both the Gates and Gates East precincts.