Why Are States So Important? Focus On: Gerrymandering (Pennsylvania)

Image by OnTheWorldMap.com

You may have noticed that our two current candidates, Melissa Shusterman and Anton Andrew, are both running for Pennsylvania House seats. You may also have noticed that Pennsylvania’s congressional district map has figured a lot in the news recently.

This is not a coincidence.

Pennsylvania is one of 37 states where the state legislature controls redistricting, meaning the party in power – in this case, the GOP – gets to redraw both state and congressional voting district lines at least once a decade.

In January 2018, the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s congressional district map, and in February, the Court issued a truly damning majority opinion. Excerpt below (outraged boldface added):

“Such a plan, aimed at achieving unfair partisan gain, undermines voters’ ability to exercise their right to vote in free and ‘equal’ elections if the term is to be interpreted in any credible way. An election corrupted by extensive, sophisticated gerrymandering and partisan dilution of votes is not ‘free and equal.’”

The Court adopted a redrawn map for the 2018 election cycle, but Republicans are not giving up without a fight. And why would they? According to Ballotpedia, their original map split the state into 28 counties, resulting in a district win of Trump 12 to Clinton 6; the new map, which divides the state into 13 counties, would have resulted in Trump 10 to Clinton 8.

In an effort to get the new map tossed out, Republicans have filed suit (dismissed), petitioned the US Supreme Court for a stay (rejected), and now, in keeping with the current federal disdain for the judiciary, introduced impeachment resolutions against the judges.

Let’s even the balance of power in the Pennsylvania State House so this kind of skulduggery never happens again!