Don’t Rig Peoples’ Representation With Partisan Gerrymandering

Target: Jake Corman, Floor Leader of the Pennsylvania State Senate

Goal: Support reform of partisan district drawing process that disenfranchises voters.

Why do politicians in American get to determine who serves the people in crucial areas like healthcare, education, and housing? Why do politicians in America select who is given lifetime appointments to what is supposed to be a separate and equal branch of government? Most puzzling of all, why is it politicians who get to hand-pick their voting constituents: a process that undermines the very concept of voting? While we may have to wait a long time for answers to the first two questions, the final question rests at the heart of upcoming district redrawing and gerrymandering.

This controversial practice has faced court challenges and will face ballot challenges in the upcoming elections.  Gerrymandering essentially turns the creation of voting districts into an elaborate game of which side can make the most lopsided, unfair puzzle. State regional district maps determine the pool of voters who will eventually elect representatives for those districts. Over the years, the process of making these maps—which should be non-partisan and independent—has devolved into a hyper-partisan ritual where the ruling party of a state has all the power in their creation. What often happens as a result is that the supposedly objective commissions (typically appointed by state leaders) tasked with redrawing districts every few years reshape the regions in such a way that their political party has more probable voters within the districts. For example, the outgoing Kansas Senate president recently openly stated that “during redistricting, I need to give (my potential successor) some more Republican neighborhoods in order to make sure she stays elected.”

This type of overt political gamesmanship has led to voter blowback such as the 2018 Missouri ballot initiative that took district-drawing out of the hands of a governor-appointed commission and put it in the more capable hands of a non-partisan demographer. Opponents are now trying to put this important measure that won voter support back on the ballot. Pennsylvania is taking up its own troubled past with gerrymandering through a new proposed bill that would amend the redistricting process to include openness, accountability, and—most important of all—public input.

This effort, if passed, could serve as a vital template for a country that is already facing one of its most divisive election cycles in decades. Sign the petition below to urge this battleground state to restore fairness and integrity to its electoral process.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Corman,

Several states have put gerrymandering and district mapping on the ballot, recognizing the public should have input in this controversial practice that directly impacts their communities and their livelihoods. The citizens of Pennsylvania, much like citizens across the United States, want politicians to stop playing games with their lives in the name of holding onto power with an iron grip. We the people are supposed to choose you, not the other way around.

Pennsylvania politicians have for too long divided neighbors and suppressed their duly elected representatives through the artificial boundaries built by gerrymandering. Senate Bill 1242, while not perfect, can go a long way in breaking these barriers and bringing fairness and integrity back to this system. Most importantly, the people will have their voices back.

Support this bill and support a non-partisan process that works for all Pennsylvanians.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering




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One Comment

  1. Linda Cummings says:

    If you have no chance to win fairly, this is the way – cheat, lie, steal, and gerrymander.

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