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Posted on: June 26, 2019

Goochland County Resolves Voter Precinct Reassignments - August 21 2019 Update

Goochland County Resolves Voter Precinct Reassignments - August 21 2019 Update

A huge milestone was accomplished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, when The Honorable Timothy K. Sanner, Chief Judge of the Goochland County Circuit Court, entered a court order approving the Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland County and Louisa County.

This action establishes the official boundary between Goochland and Louisa, substantially resolving decades-old questions and concerns regarding our shared border. This action does not affect any services citizens receive from the counties, nor does it relocate any property from one county to the other.  Pictured below is a portion of the larger team from Goochland and Louisa counties that worked together to resolve this issue for our localities and citizens.

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Additionally, the Goochland County Electoral Board met on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and unanimously adopted a motion to direct the General Registrar, if the judge issued the court order, to conform the Voter Registration records of Goochland County to align with the new boundary lines as described in the Court Order.  This effectively returns affected voters previously reassigned to Louisa back to Goochland.  Below is the actual motion the Electoral Board adopted:

 In recognition of the Court Order, establishing the new boundary line between Goochland and Louisa Counties to conform to the boundary line as described in Exhibit A, and as depicted in Exhibit A1, based on findings that the procedures required by Section 15.2-3107 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, have been complied with

I move to direct the General Registrar to conform the Voter Registration records of Goochland County to align with the new boundary lines as described in the Court Order.

Adopted 3-0, August 15, 2019

Over the next couple weeks affected voters will receive voter information notices from the Voter Registration office.  These voter information notices may include a change in district for House of Delegates and State Senate.  Any specific voting-related questions and concerns can be directed to the County Registrar Ryan Mulligan at (804) 556-5803 or rmulligan@goochlandva.us.

A copy of the court order entered by The Honorable Timothy K. Sanner, Presiding Judge and Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, approving the Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland County and Louisa County can be found here.

Below is the initial "Goochland Board of Supervisors Undertake Efforts to Resolve Voter Reassignments" post from June 26, 2019 regarding the voter precinct reassignments and additional post updates made in July and August.

Goochland Board of Supervisors Undertake Efforts to Resolve Voter Reassignments

The Goochland County Board of Supervisors and County Administration understand the concerns of citizens whose voter assignment were recently changed from Goochland to Louisa based on the census border that divides the two counties.  The Board of Supervisors and County staff take the concerns very seriously and have been committed to resolving the concerns as expeditiously as possible.

First and foremost, the change recently made by the Electoral Board occurred because the federal census Border is not consistent with the tax parcel border between the two jurisdictions.  Unfortunately, our tax parcel border with Louisa has been in dispute for over 250 years.  Goochland regrets the length of time that this dispute has existed and the problems it has caused; however, the two counties recently outlined a path to bring the census border and tax parcel border into alignment.

Goochland County Efforts

Reassignment of Voters: 

Letter to All Affected Goochland County residents

On May 13, 2019 County Administrator John Budesky sent a letter to all affected Goochland County residents.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Request the Electoral Board to Revisit their April 22, 2019 Vote & Support Options to Vote Locally

On June 20, 2019 Board of Supervisors Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr. sent the Goochland County Electoral Board a letter strongly requesting and urging the Electoral Board to revisit their decision and previous practices that allowed voters to vote in their local elections.  The Electoral Board was also urged to develop and support solutions and alternatives that would allow affected Goochland and Louisa voters to vote where they pay taxes and have historically voted for at least the local races.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Request Senator Peake's Assistance in Having the General Assembly Reconsider Senate Bill 1102 (Legislative District Boundaries)

On June 21, 2019  Board of Supervisors Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr. sent Senator Mark J. Peake (22nd Senate District) and Delegates R. Lee Ware, Jr. (65th House District) and John J. McGuire (56th House District) a letter requesting their assistance in having an amended version of Senate Bill 1102 (legislative district boundaries) heard during the July 9th General Assembly Special Session.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Revise the Census Border:

The census border can only be revised in conjunction with a federal census.  Goochland and Louisa Counties have agreed to submit, for the upcoming 2020 census, census boundaries that match the tax parcel boundaries.  It is our understanding that, once accepted and certified, the tax parcel boundaries and the census boundaries will then be in alignment. Unless a legislative solution is identified sooner, the certification is anticipated in calendar year 2021. There will be additional efforts required to fully address the boundary related issues; however, the issue the of citizens voting in their respective counties where they pay taxes will be substantially resolved.

Specific Voting Related Questions:

Any specific voting-related questions and concerns can be directed to the County's General Registrar and Director of Elections Ryan Mulligan at (804) 556-5803 or rmulligan@goochlandva.us.

*** June 28, 2019 Update ***

Request Attorney General Mark R. Herring to Expeditiously Review and Provide an Attorney General’s Official Advisory Opinion In Response to the Electoral Board’s Request

On June 28, 2019 Board of Supervisors Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr. sent Attorney General Mark R. Herring a letter requesting and urging the Office of the Attorney General to expeditiously review and provide an Attorney General’s Official Advisory Opinion in response to a request from the Goochland County Electoral Board.  The Goochland County Electoral Board submitted their request to Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Office of the Attorney General on June 20, 2019.  A copy of the Electoral Board's letter is available here.  A copy of the Board of Supervisors letter is available here.

*** July 3, 2019 Update ***

General Assembly Reconsideration of Senate Bill 1102 (Legislative District Boundaries) Unsuccessful

On July 1, 2019 Delegate R. Lee Ware, Jr. (65th House District) advised Goochland that he had consulted  Virginia Division of Legislative Services staff about trying to file a House version of Senate Bill 1102 (SB 1102) (filed by Senator Mark Peake during the regular session) for consideration at the Special Session on July 9th.  It was determined that due to the nature of the Special Session, the legislation could not be filed and the localities were urged to resolve it amongst themselves.  The Goochland County Board of Supervisors and County staff are thankful to Goochland’s General Assembly Delegation for their efforts and assistance in trying to have SB 1102 heard during the Special Session.

Goochland County Board of Supervisors Reiterates Importance of Resolving Voter Precinct Reassignments and Directs Additional Efforts

On July 2, 2019 the Goochland County Board of Supervisors met in two separate closed sessions to consult and discuss potential efforts and solutions with the County Administrator and County Attorney.   As a result of these discussion, the Board of Supervisors has directed additional efforts be taken by the County Administrator, County Attorney, and staff.

It is fundamentally important to the Goochland County Board of Supervisors that the voter precinct reassignments issue be resolved and that citizens be able to vote for representatives in the locality where they pay their taxes.  It is critically important that a final resolution occur now, so these citizens are able to vote in the upcoming election, where the majority of local offices are on the ballot.

The Board of Supervisors sympathizes with the affected residents and will pursue every possible action legally available to it to seek a final resolution for them.  To that end the Board of Supervisors has taken two additional efforts identified below.

  1. The Board of Supervisors has directed County Administrator John A. Budesky and county staff to continue to work with the Goochland County Electoral Board and General Registrar/Director of Elections to seek any and all remedies that would allow affected Goochland residents to vote where they historically pay taxes.
  2. The Board of Supervisors has instructed County Attorney Tara A. McGee to examine all legal options available that may resolve this pressing issue for Goochland residents and voters affected.

Request Senator Warner, Senator Kaine, and Representative Spanberger’s Assistance in Ensuring Census Border Lines Are Accepted and Approved

On July 3, 2019 Board of Supervisors Chair Manuel Alvarez, Jr. sent Senator Warner, Senator Kaine, and Representative Spanberger a request for assistance in ensuring that the Census Border Lines submitted to the United States Bureau of the Census by Goochland and Louisa counties are reviewed, accepted, and approved as soon as possible.  A copy of the Board of Supervisors letter is available here.

*** July 19, 2019 Update ***

Goochland County Attorney Memorandum on Goochland/Louisa Boundary Line Agreement

On July 15, 2019 Goochland County Attorney Tara A. McGee sent County Administrator John A. Budesky a memorandum regarding the Goochland/Louisa Boundary Line Agreement.  The memo provides context for efforts the counties can take to assist in resolving the voter reassignment issue. 

Specifically, it discusses Approval of a Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland and Louisa Counties adopting an agreed boundary line which recognizes where property owners currently pay taxes and receive services, is consistent with the border used by both localities’ GIS systems, and is the boundary both localities recently submitted to the US Census Bureau. A copy of the Boundary Line Agreement and map is on file in the office of the County Administrator.

The Goochland County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 will hold public hearings to consider adoption of a new electoral map amending the boundary line between Goochland and Louisa Counties and to consider Approval of a Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland and Louisa Counties.  Information on the meeting and public notice can be found here.

Additional independent actions will be required by the Registrars and/or the Electoral Boards to address specific voting related issues.

A copy of the July 15, 2019 memo can be found here.  A copy of the Goochland – Louisa Boundary Line Agreement can be found here.  A copy of the Goochland Louisa Boundary Map 2019 can be found here.

*** August 9, 2019 Update ***

Goochland County and Louisa County Approve Boundary Line Agreement to Change the Boundary Line between the counties.

On August 5, 2019, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) approved a Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland and Louisa Counties that adopts the official boundary line between the Counties.

On August 6, 2019, the Goochland County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) approved a Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland and Louisa Counties that adopts the official boundary line between the Counties.

A copy of the Notice of Public Hearing that was advertised in the Central Virginian on July 18, 2019 and July 25, 2019 for Louisa; and a copy of the Notice of Public Hearing that was advertised in the Goochland Gazette on July 18, 2019, July 25, 2019, and August 1, 2019 can be found in a joint letter sent by Goochland & Louisa counties to over 400 residents along the Goochland/Louisa border.

This action will formalize the official boundary between the Counties, aligning it with the taxing boundary and substantially resolving decades-old questions and concerns regarding our shared border. This action will not affect any services you receive from the County, nor does it relocate any property from one locality to the other.

On August 8, 2019 the Boards took further action by filing a joint petition in the Goochland County Circuit Court requesting a court order approving the Boundary Line Agreement and establishing the agreed upon boundary as the official boundary line between the localities.  A copy of the Joint Petition of Goochland County, Virginia and Louisa County, Virginia can be found here.

A hearing has been set on the joint petition and will occur on August 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at the Goochland County Circuit Court located at 2938 River Road West, Goochland, VA 23063.

Through these actions, the Boards will continue to advocate for alignment of the map currently used for census, voter assignment and election purposes with the official boundary line. A primary focus of this effort was to ensure that citizens have the opportunity to vote where they live and pay county taxes. Please note that final voting determinations are made by the Electoral Boards and Registrars in each locality.

A copy of the August 7, 2019 Notice of Approval of Boundary Line Agreement to Change Boundary Line between Goochland County, Virginia and Louisa County, Virginia can be found here.  A copy of the Joint Petition of Goochland County, Virginia and Louisa County, Virginia can be found here. A copy of the Goochland Louisa Boundary Map 2019 can be found here.

County staff is in the process of creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) list to answer questions individuals have regarding the Goochland/Louisa Border issues.  In the meantime, if you have questions please contact the Goochland County Attorney’s Office at (804) 556-5877.

*** August 21, 2019 Update ***

A huge milestone was accomplished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, when the Honorable Timothy K. Sanner, Presiding Judge and Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, entered a court order approving the Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland County and Louisa County. 

This action establishes the official boundary between Goochland and Louisa, substantially resolving decades-old questions and concerns regarding our shared border. This action does not affect any services citizens receive from the counties, nor does it relocate any property from one county to the other. 

Additionally, the Goochland County Electoral Board met on Thursday, August 15, 2019, and unanimously adopted a motion to direct the General Registrar, if the judge issued the court order, to conform the Voter Registration records of Goochland County to align with the new boundary lines as described in the Court Order.  This effectively returns affected voters previously reassigned to Louisa back to Goochland.  Below is the actual motion the Electoral Board adopted:

 In recognition of the Court Order, establishing the new boundary line between Goochland and Louisa Counties to conform to the boundary line as described in Exhibit A, and as depicted in Exhibit A1, based on findings that the procedures required by Section 15.2-3107 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, have been complied with

I move to direct the General Registrar to conform the Voter Registration records of Goochland County to align with the new boundary lines as described in the Court Order.

Adopted 3-0, August 15, 2019

Over the next couple weeks affected voters will receive voter information notices from the Voter Registration office.  These voter information notices may include a change in district for House of Delegates and State Senate.  Any specific voting-related questions and concerns can be directed to the County Registrar Ryan Mulligan at (804) 556-5803 or rmulligan@goochlandva.us.

A copy of the court order entered by The Honorable Timothy K. Sanner, Presiding Judge and Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, approving the Boundary Line Agreement between Goochland County and Louisa County can be found here.

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