UPDATE 6/15/18: Please see our latest statement on redistricting reform efforts in Pennsylvania for the most recent information and our current position on redistricting legislation.
On Monday, April 16, PUMP’s Advocacy + Public Policy Director, Lindsay Cashman, and PUMP board member, Pascale Joseph, traveled to Harrisburg along with people and organizations from around the commonwealth for the Fair Districts PA Rally Against Gerrymandering: Reclaiming Our Democracy.
The rally brought hundreds of people to the rotunda in the state capitol. Some estimates were as high as 1,000, with people confirming that it was one of the biggest rallies they had seen in decades. Fair Districts PA organized buses that brought people from around the commonwealth. We were honored by this opportunity to participate in democracy in action and see the energy around this important issue.
PUMP has endorsed legislation to create an independent citizens’ redistricting commission, including Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 (in its original form as introduced by Representative Samuelson and Representative Roe). Recently Representative Metcalfe amended House Bill 722, completely undermining the spirit of the original bill. Senate Bill 22 is still in tact and will be discussed during a public hearing on redistricting reform legislation on April 24, 2018.
The day began with tours of the capitol and opportunities to sit in on hearings.
At 2:30 PM, the rally began with speakers talking about the importance of a new redistricting process to ensure fairness. Here are some of the highlights we heard from the speakers:
- “Return the power to the people.”
- “We need districts that are drawn without politicians in the room.”
- “No one has the right to diminish the power of your vote!“
Thanks to Fair Districts PA for organizing an excellent event, to all the legislators who have endorsed anti-gerrymandering legislation, and to all those who attended the rally or showed their support in other ways.