Governor Wolf Announces Bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission

Katie Phillips Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Diverse + Connected Region

Yesterday, Governor Wolf released an executive order for the formation of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission with the goal of making recommendations for a non-partisan, fair redistricting process. The commission, Wolf said, will “bring together diverse experts and citizens to explore ways that Pennsylvania could use policies, technology, and data to curb gerrymandering and ensure fair maps.” Read the Governor’s full press statement.

David Thornburgh, president and CEO of Committee of Seventy and director of Draw the Lines PA, has been appointed as chairman of the commission. The commission will also feature representation from two members of Draw the Lines’ eastern region steering committee – Sharman Matlack Turner and Amanda Holt. Susan Carty, president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, is also on the commission, bringing her expertise from the League of Women Voters and as a leader in the Fair Districts PA coalition to the commission.

Read Draw the Lines PA’s statement and Fair Districts PA’s statement on the announcement.

As a Steering Committee organization of Draw the Lines PA and a supporting organization of Fair Districts PA, we at PUMP are excited to see these leaders at the table.

We are also excited to see the diverse expertise, perspectives, and knowledge brought by the rest of the 15-person commission. Governor Wolf’s Redistricting Reform Commission is an important step towards our vision of a Pennsylvania where elections are fair, competitive, and decided by the voters so that our representatives are truly elected to serve us – their constituents.

Inspired by this progress?

You can take part in the work of understanding and reforming mapping practices by creating your very own map using Draw the Lines PA’s software! The easy-to-learn program allows you to navigate the challenges, nuances, and potential that comes with creating fair districts. Build a map and enter it in Draw the Lines PA’s mapping competition by Dec. 14, 2018 for the chance to win up to $5,000. Get started today!

Fair districts are essential for an equitable democracy

PUMP advocates for equitable legislative districts that fairly represent all voting populations. Momentum around redistricting reform has grown in Pennsylvania over the years. In 2017, PA won a judicial victory in the fight against gerrymandering when the PA Supreme Court ordered the redrawing of the Commonwealth’s congressional districts because the old maps were found to have an unconstitutional partisan bias. The new congressional maps were used for the first time in the 2018 Midterm Election and resulted in election results that more fairly reflected the popular vote in Pennsylvania than in previous elections under the old maps.

We also came close to a legislative victory in 2017, as advocates and legislators pushed for the passage of bills that would establish an independent redistricting commission. Although the legislation was unsuccessful, the bipartisan coalition of redistricting reform advocates that rallied around legislation has remained committed to ending gerrymandering in PA, and was likely a main factor in Governor Wolf’s decision to establish this bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission .

We are proud that ending gerrymandering in PA is part of our Advocacy + Public Policy Agenda and look forward to supporting the Redistricting Reform Commission’s work.