Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Analysis finds GOP skew in Pennsylvania plan

Analysis finds GOP skew in Pennsylvania plan

Friday night, Republican leaders submitted a redrawn map of the state's 18 Congressional Districts to Governor Wolf, replacing the 2011 map, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

After the plan was released Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement that his office would review the proposal in consultation with experts.

There is nothing to stop whichever political party is in the majority then from drawing maps which some future court may declare equally unfair and created to benefit one party or the other.

The court found in the plaintiff's favor by a 5-2 majority.

That action came just hours ahead of a deadline imposed by the state Supreme Court, but the state legislature had not yet approved the new district map.

Professor Chris Borick with Muhlenberg College says he believes the governor will strike a deal with Republican lawmakers and devise a compromise map.

Top Senate GOP lawyer Drew Crompton maintained that the court forced Republicans to cut corners, because justices didn't issue their full opinion until three days before the maps were due.

Just as the borough is divided on the map, the Lansford council is split politically, with three Republicans, three Democrats and Soto, a non-partisan voter.

Justices have promised to produce a new map by February 19.

One extreme example of the result of this mapping methodology is Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, now held by embattled Republican Pat Meehan.

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"As long as our elections are on schedule, we will be fine", Jeff Greenburg, the county official in charge of the election process, said Thursday during the county commissioners meeting.

House and Senate Democrats don't see it that way.

Wolf, a Democrat, told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday the new map is still a partisan gerrymander and doesn't comply with the court's order or Pennsylvania's Constitution.

The state Supreme Court's January 21 decision in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania garnered significant attention and has been incorporated into the national debate about the fairness of politicians drawing the lines of their own voting blocs.

The state Supreme Court ruling is the latest of several recent court decisions condemning the practice of gerrymandering. They argued that the map would be valid under the court's decision.

It amazes me how many people don't know who their member of Congress is but it is exactly because of this kind of political machinations.

And in a separate special election in a southwestern Minnesota House district, the Republican candidate trounced his Democratic opponent by almost 20 percentage points, though that was a margin 15 percentage points smaller than the GOP's last victory there.

Wolf says his team analyzed the proposed map and found is still clearly seeks to benefit one party.

Republicans controlled the redistricting process in 2011 and drew a congressional map that gave the GOP a considerable advantage.

That's why the nonpartisan activist group Fair Districts PA is advocating to take the drawing of those maps out of the hands of the people who benefit by their composition. "Sixteen of those occurred in Montgomery County, and Hatfield is one of those", Rafferty said.

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