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SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

Over the next three months, we will be working with Voters Not Politicians in Michigan and other partners to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP
Pennsylvania

Process

Pennsylvania's congressional lines are drawn by the state Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Pennsylvania's state legislative lines are drawn by a commission of politicians. The four legislative leaders each select one commission member. These four then choose a fifth, who acts as the commission's chair. If no fifth member is selected within 45 days, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court chooses. Only the chair of the commission must be a citizen. An initial plan must be drafted by the commission either 90 days after the receipt of census data or after commission formation, whichever is later. An initial plan is finalized 30 days after the last public exception is filed against it.

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Pennsylvania law requires that state legislative and congressional districts be compact, contiguous, and preserve political subdivisions.

Pennsylvania has two public input requirements. First, any final plan must be published in at least one newspaper per state legislative district. This publication must include the whole map, a map of the area that the newspaper serves, and the population and variation of all districts in the plan. Second, within 30 days of a proposed plan of final plan, any "aggrieved person" may file a challenge in the state's Supreme Court. Outside of these requirements, Pennsylvania does not mandate public hearings, but in 2011, such hearings were held between September 7 and November 23. Without a change in law, a similar timeline seems likely.

Issues

  • In 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the congressional map was an illegal partisan gerrymander, based on the "free and fair elections" clause of its state constitution. This undid one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation.

  • In 2019, the Redistricting Reform Commission released a report that outlines its recommendations for reform. Its recommendations were based on nine public hearings, online public input, a public survey, and other state models.

  • In 2020, the entire Pennsylvania House and half the Pennsylvania Senate will be up for re-election.

  • In 2021, both Congressional and legislative line-drawing will be under the control of both major parties.

  • Based upon a recent estimate of congressional seat changes following the 2020 census, Pennsylvania is estimated to lose one congressional seat.

Actions

Advocate for an independent redistricting commission.

  • If the current majority (Republican) passes into the minority, point out that such a commission will protect their interests.

  • In 2020, support legislative candidates who will advocate for fair districting.

In 2021, use public comment to push the Legislature towards drawing fair districts and to identify communities of interest.

  • Obtain Pennsylvania redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.

  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

Congressional Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
State Boundaries: Drawn by politician commission
Legislative Control: Republican
Governor's Political Party: Democratic
Last Updated: Feb 12 2020