NDRC: Pennsylvania Republican Map is Far From Fair

December 9, 2021

Philadelphia, PA — Today, Fernando Treviño, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s State Director for Pennsylvania, released the following statement in response to the congressional map drawn by former Republican County Commissioner Amanda Holt and introduced by Pennsylvania House Republicans:

“Republicans may claim that this map is fair, but it is far from that. A map that makes only Democratic seats more competitive and keeps only Republican seats safe is a map that neither reflects the competitive nature of Pennsylvania nor the will of the people. Pennsylvanians are sick and tired of these partisan tactics that dilute their voices in our democracy, and they deserve better than a map that packs and cracks voters of color and splits communities of interest across the Commonwealth.

“The changes ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to the congressional map in 2018 reduced the partisan gerrymandering in the Commonwealth, resulting in a more fair map. With this as a roadmap, the new congressional map should see minimal changes from the court-ordered map. This would lead to a map that creates fair districts, accurately reflects the competitive nature of Pennsylvania, and keeps communities of interest together as much as possible.”


Earlier this year, Gov. Wolf’s Pennsylvania Redistricting Advisory Council released redistricting principles outlining the characteristics of a fair map and fair process. The map introduced by Pennsylvania House Republicans does not meet most of those principles, including the following: 

  1. Legal Principles: The proposed map is less compact than the current map, and unnecessarily splits census places and counties into multiple districts. For example, several districts centered in urban, diverse areas are unnecessarily sprawled toward rural, Republican areas in the central part of the state. This dilutes the votes of the diverse, urban parts of the state. 
  2. Principles of Representation: The proposed map cracks apart communities of interest across the state, including Democratic-leaning parts of Chester County, Black and Hispanic/Latino communities in Harrisburg, and separating Wilkes-Barre from its suburban communities. By several partisan metrics, the map is skewed in favor of Republicans. Areas that are Democratic-leaning are cracked and packed in order to make Democratic seats more competitive and Republican seats safer. No Republican seats were moved to a competitive range. 
  3. Principles of Process: The proposed map packs and cracks communities of interest across the state without explanation. The advisory council made it clear that the Governor must heavily scrutinize any map that does not include clear explanations for decisions that were made. The Governor must also adhere to his advisory council’s recommendation to veto any map that is “made public and passed quickly with limited legislative debate or opportunity for public consideration.” Thus far, there has been a lack of meaningful opportunities for the public to participate, provide input, or comment during the process. For example, citizens were not permitted to testify virtually before the Republican-led committee and the hearings scheduled in Democratic areas were hosted in remote locations with limited access to public transportation.