State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Letter: It's Time for Redistricting Reform

on May 15, 2020 4:30 AM

COVID-19 is still here! Meanwhile, our Pennsylvania legislators know we’re distracted. The census is under way and voting districts will be redrawn. Let’s end the underhanded gerrymandered PA voting districts once and for all.

In 2011, all three maps for Congress and the PA Assembly were created by party leaders protecting seats. There was a vote for Congress without information, and no vote at all for state Assembly districts. Can legislators explain to voters why, after four years in committee, reform bills supported by 66% of Pennsylvanians, 381 municipalities and 23 counties still languish?

Solutions are ripe, but our legislators stall. Representatives Conklin and Irvin co-sponsored bills, but perhaps just to placate us. Rep. Borowicz won’t meet, or return calls and emails. Rep. Benninghoff meets but says an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission might be biased. Compared to party leaders? Really? Senator Corman, despite saying he supports reform, takes no action. At a recent online town hall, he twice disconnected a constituent who asked about redistricting.

Redistricting should be a transparent public process that meets strict criteria for fairness to all constituents. Choose candidates who will support these reforms. Check out their survey responses at Know Before You Vote.

Voting districts will last for 10 years, long after COVID-19. President Trump requested extending the deadline to deliver population counts used in redistricting. The state government committees should use this time to move reform bills to passage.

Gerrymandering leaves voters impotent. Pass reform for healthy government and legitimate representation.

Debra Trudeau
State College

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