Since we don’t have citizen’s initiative and referendum here in Pennsylvania, redistricting reform won’t appear on your ballot. But we’ve been asking legislators where they stand on this conflict of interest. Some say things are fine as they are. Others say our current system puts too much power in the hands of party leaders and reduces every citizen’s choice on Election Day.
The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania has asked all of our Pennsylvania candidates to tell us where they stand on several key issues, including redistricting reform:
Pennsylvania is home to some of the most gerrymandered districts in the U.S. Unfairly drawn districts disenfranchise voters and make it more difficult for legislators to effectively represent all of their constituents. Would you support redistricting reform through removing elected officials from the process and instituting an independent citizens’ commission to draw the maps, changing where prisoners are counted, and/or implementing stricter methods of statistical verification? Please explain your answer.
Check Vote411 for your sample ballot and see what your legislators have said. If they didn’t answer the question, maybe it’s because many don’t face an opponent at the polls or because they feel so secure in their safe districts that they don’t need to bother communicating with constituents.
Common Cause PA asked candidates to sign the following pledge:
I pledge to support legislation to remove control of the redistricting process from all individuals who have direct conflicts of interest in the outcome (including, but not limited to, legislators, legislative staff, and political party officials and staff), and to establish an independent citizens’ redistricting commission with authority over both legislative and congressional redistricting. I ask my constituents to hold me accountable to this pledge.
Results of the pledge campaign are on the Fair Districts PA website.
Finally, Keystone Crossroads just put out a lengthy photo essay on redistricting in Pennsylvania with quotes from many of our allies. The essay is called Dividing Lines: How Pennsylvania’s elections really are rigged. Read it and share it!
We need a responsive government accountable to the people of Pennsylvania. Please vote for candidates who share your respect for government of, by and for the people.
This article is by Fair Districts PA, a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to redistricting reform, with the goal of promoting fair elections in which every person’s vote counts. The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is a member of the Fair Districts PA coalition.