Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said today she appreciates the prompt announcement of the decision reached by a panel of federal judges in the case challenging the West Virginia Legislature’s congressional redistricting plan.
Secretary Tennant said the prompt decision is a great benefit to potential candidates, to local election officials, and the Secretary of State’s Office.
According to the decision, lawmakers have until January 17, 2012 to complete a new congressional redistricting plan or submit proposed alternative plans as an interim plan. The West Virginia Legislature is now tasked with revisiting the issue.
The decision says if the Legislature fails to comply with one of those two conditions the court will identify a plan for use in the 2012 congressional election.
“I am confident that West Virginia can achieve equal populations in its congressional districts,” Secretary Tennant said. “The court has shown with this ruling that equal representation of all citizens in Washington is most important.”
The filing period for candidates opens on Monday, January 9, 2012 and ends at midnight on January 28, 2012. Candidates may choose to file before the final makeup of the three congressional districts are known. Candidates do not have to reside in the district for which they are running.
The Secretary of State’s Office was not part of the legislative redistricting process and accepts the determination that the process did not produce a constitutional result.
The entire decision can be read here.