As Redistricting Gets Underway, NDRC Calls for New Maps to Fairly and Accurately Reflect PA’s Population
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U.S. Census Bureau is releasing data that enables Pennsylvania to start drawing new maps
Harrisburg, PA – Following today’s release of population data by the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) is calling on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission and Pennsylvania lawmakers to enact fair maps that accurately reflect the Commonwealth’s population changes and slight Democratic lean in recent elections. The data released by the Census Bureau this week enables state legislators to start the map drawing process.
“Pennsylvania’s congressional map should reflect its slight Democratic lean, with both parties able to win a majority of the seats in the delegation. Additionally, it is clear that the new legislative and congressional maps should reflect the growing population in southeastern Pennsylvania. These are basic foundational principles for a fair map that reflects the diversity, geography, and partisan leanings of the Commonwealth as a whole,” said Fernando Treviño, NDRC’s State Director. “There must be a fair and transparent process that results in new maps reflecting the will of Pennsylvania voters.”
Pennsylvania is losing a seat in Congress because of slow population growth over the past decade, particularly in the central, northern, and western regions, and will elect 17 U.S. Representatives starting in the 2022 election cycle. To achieve fairness, the new maps should eliminate the 15th Congressional District in western Pennsylvania, reflecting the movement of voters and statewide population changes. While the total number of legislative districts doesn’t change, in the new legislative maps, this population shift indicates three House districts should move from western to eastern Pennsylvania.
NDRC will continue to call for the Legislative Reapportionment Commission and Pennsylvania lawmakers to draw fair maps that are responsive to voters and competitive for both major political parties. A fair map, mirroring the Commonwealth’s slight Democratic lean should also have compact districts; prioritize keeping similar communities of interest together; and not dilute the representation of people of color.
The congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers following the 2010 Census was one of the most egregiously gerrymandered in the country, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately struck it down. The National Redistricting Action Fund, an affiliate of NDRC, is supporting a lawsuit in Pennsylvania asking the court to prepare to step in and ensure fair and equal representation in the event the Commonwealth’s divided government fails to agree on new congressional maps.