Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 were virtually identical when introduced last year in their respective chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. They had bipartisan support and were drafted by legislators, policy staff and advocates for accountable government, with the goal of ending partisan gerrymandering — the intentional drawing of voting district lines to benefit a particular political party. So far, these bills have taken divergent paths: one, exemplifying how the democratic process should work, and the other, demonstrating what can happen when this process is hijacked by partisan politics. [Read more…]
SB 22 is one step closer to a vote! Senator Folmer, chairman of the State Government Committee in the Pennsylvania Senate, has lived up to his promise to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 22: Independent Redistricting Commission. Join the advocacy group March On Harrisburg as we show up to show our support for SB 22, to put an end to gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.
We will be meeting in the cafeteria at the State Capitol at 8:30 a.m., and the hearing is expected to last from 9 to 11 a.m. Several other Senate bills will also be discussed during the public hearing. We will be carpooling from the Philadelphia area and other areas to Harrisburg that morning. Please reach out to us if you are looking for transportation.
Dr. Moon Duchin is an associate professor of mathematics at Tufts University and the founder of the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group.
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. First Lecture: Gerrymandering and the Mathematics of Voting Rights
4:00 – 4:30 p.m. Refreshments
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Second Lecture: Discrete Curvature in Redistricting and Group Theory
Seating is limited.
For more information, contact Ronald Perline at [email protected].
Fair Districts PA Chair Carol Kuniholm will discuss her own exploration of justice and love of neighbor, and the way that journey led to her involvement in redistricting reform. She’ll explain gerrymandering and its implications for the people of Pennsylvania and suggest ways for houses of worship to engage. This presentation, given in her home congregation, will be filmed for use in religious forums across the state.
This is a public event, and all are welcome to attend. The event is co-hosted by POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild) and by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches – Advocacy.
Editor’s note: This article was written prior to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling in League of Women Voters v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which was just handed down. In its opinion, the court held that Pennsylvania’s congressional district maps violate the state constitution. The ruling also requires that the maps be redrawn in time for the May 2018 primaries.
People who are concerned that elections in the U.S. are “rigged” should be thrilled with the wave of new court cases on partisan gerrymandering, which voice this contention, and even better, propose remedies for the problem. [Read more…]
Note: Since submitting this article, Senator Leach has stepped back from his congressional campaign in the light of recent accusations about his personal conduct.
Back in 2004, when I held my first public forum on gerrymandering and 23 people showed up, I could never have predicted that the drawing of legislative district lines would become such a trendy topic. My last forum on this topic drew over 350 people. It seems like every day there is a new article in some national publication on how obscenely drawn our lines are (especially Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, in which I am keenly interested). In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Gill v. Whitford this year, a case directly challenging the concept of gerrymandering that could, if decided right, be one of the most consequential cases in the court’s history.
Here in Pennsylvania, things are really popping. While we await the outcome of Gill, there are two important cases percolating in which the district lines in our state are under judicial review. [Read more…]
With the 2018 midterm elections nearing and a gerrymandering case under review in the U.S. Supreme Court, partisan gerrymandering is a hot topic right now. It is also an important issue for Pennsylvanians, whose voting districts are considered some of the most gerrymandered in the country. This issue is on trial in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg in the case of League of Women Voters v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The trial is open to the public. It begins on December 11, and is expected to be completed on December 15. It could potentially take longer, and because of the time urgency, there may be days when it runs beyond normal court hours.
Fair Districts PA speaker Michael Druding will explain Pennsylvania’s current redistricting process, demonstrate how it undermines democracy and then offer a solution to the problem.
Fair Districts PA is a non-partisan coalition of citizens and organizations seeking to reform Pennsylvania’s redistricting rules by taking the process out of the hands of party leaders and putting it into the hands of an impartial, transparent and accountable citizens’ commission.