What to know
- Congressional districts in Pennsylvania are redrawn every decade after the United States Census. Those federal counties, along with all 253 of the state’s legislative districts, are redeployed through a process called redistricting.
- The state’s legislative districts, each consisting of two state representatives and a state senator, are drawn by a five-person assembly that includes an independent president. Advocates of fair elections are voicing warnings about the possibility of contests in the process this year.
- Gerrymandering is the manipulation of counties to help keep power for elected legislators and political parties. It favors politicians over voters, and is the root cause of underrepresented ethnic and minority communities, and the rise of partisan deadlock in government.
A plan to redraw the lines for Pennsylvania’s congressional districts to account for a decade of population displacement passed the state House of Representatives on Wednesday with a partisan vote signaling lawmakers must confront face a lot of redistribution work ahead.
Two Republicans in suburban Philadelphia joined every Democrat who voted against a proposal that would take into account the 2020 census results that reduced the state’s congressional delegation from 18 members down to 17 members.
York County Representative Seth Grove, the Republican chairman of the State Government Committee who sponsored the proposal, called it “a historic departure from how the agency has operated in the past.” ” because it was based on a submission from a volunteer cartographer outside the state government.
He said the map would likely lead to eight Democratic counties, eight Republican counties and one county, and hailed his proposal as the result of public hearings across the state.
“Not everyone is happy with each map,” Grove said during the floor debate. “We’re a big state, we have a lot of communities of interest.”
Schedules are getting tight for lawmakers to map out the congress without delaying the May 17 primaries. In Pennsylvania, the congressional map is treated like a regular law that must pass both houses of the Republican General Assembly before being presented to Democratic Governor Tom Wolf for his approval.
Wolf’s press secretary, Beth Rementer, reiterated objections to the map that the governor made in a December 28 letter to Grove and other leaders of the House and suggested they follow. guidelines set forth by Wolf’s own redistricting advisory group.
Grove’s Democratic counterpart on the committee, Representative Scott Conklin of the Central District, called the proposal a partisan map and told lawmakers the process was not transparent, despite assurances by Grove.
Conklin said he doesn’t know why Republicans would proceed with that particular map.
“They just decided, ‘Hey, this is the map we like,'” Conklin said.
Congressman Pam DeLissio, D-Philadelphia, warned against using a bad map where the state could be stuck for a decade.
“I have no doubt that there was input from the people during the implementation, but this is not a citizen-driven process,” she said. “This is an officially run, elected process.”
Grove noted that Democrats have not introduced amendments to his plan and that no other lawmakers have introduced the congressional redistricting map as legislation.
If lawmakers fail to pass a new map, the process will likely be decided in court. On Monday, the state’s Supreme Court declined to address congressional redistricting on an urgent basis, but said it could intervene “as future developments may dictate. “
New maps for the General Assembly’s areas are being developed by the five-member Legislative Redistricting Committee, which has produced preliminary maps. People have until January 18 to file objections to those proposed state legislative maps. The state Supreme Court objected, which could slow the process even further.
The time period for candidates to gather enough voter signatures to qualify for the primary ballots is scheduled to begin February 15, and counties say they need weeks before that. to prepare documents for that process.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/decision-2022/pa-house-approves-gop-favored-congressional-redistricting-plan/3105369/ Pa. House votes on GOP’s Congressional-backed Redistricting Plan – NBC10 Philadelphia