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

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

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

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

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions 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

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

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

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

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Pennsylvania

Process

Politician Commission

Pennsylvania's state legislative lines are drawn by a commission of politicians called the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. The four legislative leaders each select one commission member. These four then choose a non-politician citizen to serve as the commission's chair. If no fifth member is selected within 45 days, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court chooses. 

State Legislature

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.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Pennsylvania’s state constitution (Art. II § 16) requires that state legislative districts be contiguous, compact, and preserve political subdivisions. In 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an order applying these same criteria to congressional districts.

Public Input

While Pennsylvania law does not require public hearings, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission held 11 hearings during the last redistricting cycle, with one round between August and November and another between April and June. The Legislature also held hearings for congressional redistricting. It is likely that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.

Issues

Congressional Seats

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

Census Delays

  • State legislative redistricting plan deadlines (Art. II § 17):
    • Draft deadline: 90 days after commission has been certified or population data are available, whichever is later; either Oct. 29, 2021 or Dec. 13, 2021.
    • Final deadline: 30 days after draft; Nov. 28, 2021 or Mar. 13, 2022.
  • Congressional redistricting plan deadline: no statutory deadline

The Census Bureau may delay sending population data to states until as late as July 31, 2021. As Pennsylvania has a late deadline for state legislative redistricting and no statutory deadline for congressional redistricting, the data delay should have little to no impact. 

Reform

The Redistricting Reform Commission released a report in 2019 that outlines its recommendations for reform, including a citizen redistricting commission, new criteria to protect minority communities and decrease partisanship, and more transparency throughout the process. Its recommendations were based on nine public hearings, online public input, a public survey, and other state models.

Starting in 2019, Fair Districts PA orchestrated a Two Bills One Commission strategy to pass reform legislation (HB22/23 and SB1022/1023) creating an independent redistricting commission for both state legislative and congressional redistricting. The initiative gained wide support, with over 100,000 petition signers, resolutions from local governments representing over 70% of the population, and more cosponsors than any other bill in the session. Nevertheless, these proposed measures were never given a vote in the Legislature.

Following the failure of the Legislature to pass constitutional amendments for redistricting, the Plan B is to seek statutory reform through HB 2638 or the Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Act, introduced on June 29, 2020. This bill would increase transparency and public input in the redistricting process, along with enshrining clear criteria.

History

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out both the state legislative and congressional maps, forcing the politician commission to draw new legislative maps and issuing its own congressional maps in place of the Legislature. Pennsylvania’s original congressional map was one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation.

Actions

Participate in Draw the Lines PA’s 2020 competition, which invites citizens to draw their own state legislative and congressional maps. 

  • This is a great opportunity to take redistricting into your own hands and be eligible to win up to $5,000 for your civic engagement. The deadline is August 31, 2020.

Partner with Fair Districts PA to take specific actions against gerrymandering and work with others toward redistricting reform in your state. 

In 2020, support state legislative candidates who favor fair districting. In 2020, the entire Pennsylvania House and half the Pennsylvania Senate will be up for re-election.

In 2021, participate in the Legislature and the commission’s public input processes.

  • Obtain Pennsylvania redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the commission and Legislature start collecting feedback.
  • 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.

If you believe the final approved maps are gerrymandered, consider taking legal action. Citizens challenging Pennsylvania maps in court have been effective in the past, as exemplified by Amanda Holt in the last redistricting cycle.

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: Oct 13 2020