HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a redrawn congressional map this week which analysts say would give Republicans an edge in future elections.
HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a redrawn congressional map this week which analysts say would give Republicans an edge in future elections. Part of the decennial redistricting process—outlining which lawmakers represent which districts of the commonwealth—the proposed map passed mostly along party lines, with support from all but two Republicans and no Democrats.
The map now advances to the state Senate, where it is likely to pass, given the Republican majority. However, its final stop is on the desk of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is far less likely to accept a Republican-leaning map for the next 10 years.
Wolf has not definitively promised to veto this map, however, he criticized it in December, saying it “falls short on [a] basic measure of partisan fairness, among other concerns.”
“Partisan fairness” is just one of the requirements of a fair, non-gerrymandered map. The proposed House map performs better in other required categories, like keeping districts compact and minimizing county splits.
According to non-partisan online tools that analyze district maps—such as Dave’s Redistricting and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project—the proposed map would create five districts that lean Democratic, seven that lean Republican, and five that are “competitive” but still give Republicans an edge.
To make matters more complicated, if the governor and General Assembly cannot agree on what a fair map looks like by January 30, the issue gets turned over to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. In that case, the court would choose a map submitted by parties involved in the case. With the deadline quickly approaching, the governor and top lawmakers are already petitioning to submit their own maps to the court for consideration.
The judicial system has experience picking lawmakers’ maps for them. The PA Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the state’s congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans and handed down a new, more fairly drawn one. That court decision was the reason Wayne and Pike counties got a new representative—Rep. Matt Cartwright—in the U.S. House.
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