We can stop partisan gerrymandering in Pennsylvania for good by changing the redistricting process.
Create an impartial, independent citizens commission to redraw our district voting lines rather than politicians with a vested interest.
States with citizen commissions have seen improvements in representation, competitiveness and voter trust. Each state has a different process for drawing lines AND for changing the process. In Pennsylvania:
Fix Congressional redistricting:
An act to change the redistricting process is passed by the General Assembly then signed into law by the governor. This can be done in one session.
Fix State legislative redistricting (for state house and senate elections):
Switching to an independent commission means passing a constitutional amendment. Here’s what that takes:
That’s no easy task, but once a fair-districts policy gets to voters, they tend to approve it by huge margins.
In other words, we can do this. But we need your help to put the pressure on Harrisburg to make it happen.
The timeline is tight, but it can be done.
Representatives Tom Murt (R - Montgomery/Philadelphia counties) and Steve Samuelson (D - Northampton County) have introduced House Bill 22 and House Bill 23, two bills designed to create one independent citizens commission in time for the next round of redistricting following the 2020 U.S. Census.
The bills create a commission in charge of both legislative and congressional redistricting. It will be charged with analyzing Census data and drawing district maps. The commission will have to hold public meetings across the state before maps are drawn, and again after to collect feedback.
When HB 23 passes in the 2019-20 session, selection and training of commissioners could start. Since a constitutional amendment takes three steps, the earliest voters could approve the new commission would be the May 2021 primary election. At that point, the new commission would be given the additional jobin time for a November 2021 deadline.
What’s happening in the Senate?
Senators Lisa Boscola and Mike Folmer have reintroduced Senate Bill 22, the “Folmer amendment” of the bill Fair Districts PA supported in 2017-18. Fair Districts PA cannot support the bill as is, since a commission would not be in place in time for the 2021 redistricting. Plus, there are aspects of the bill that weaken the independence of the commission. Fair Districts PA is looking for ways to amend the bill.