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Letter: Judicial Gerrymandering Is the Latest Move by Untrustworthy Politicians

on July 30, 2020 4:45 AM

Our General Assembly leaders have shown their true colors, confirming what voters already know: party leaders put party interests ahead of voters’ interests.

Since 2017, politicians have heard demands to end gerrymandering. Despite overwhelming public support, including 66% of registered Republican voters, redistricting reform bills died in committee. Sadly, our self-dealing political leaders will be gerrymandering new election districts in 2021. Although new bills are in the House and Senate specifying strict criteria to require open meetings and accountability, their passage is uncertain.

Further twisting the dagger, the Republicans, led by Jake Corman and Kerry Benninghoff, with Stephanie Borowicz and Rich Irvin dutifully following, and despite bipartisan opposition, recently rammed through HB196, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the same cheating politicians to gerrymander judicial districts. This egregious bill has to pass again before the public gets a referendum vote. The governor's veto is not an option for a constitutional amendment.

Pennsylvania doesn’t need regional representation in the Courts — that’s the Assembly’s job. State laws are not variable by region.

With no public hearings or amendments considered, where was the extended thoughtful deliberation and transparent process expected for a constitutional amendment? The only thing transparent here is the partisan revenge. The Supreme Court’s 2018 decision said gerrymandering violates the Pennsylvania constitution and resulted in competitive Congressional maps. It reduced the 13:5 Congressional seat Republican manipulated advantage to an even 9:9. We need the same reform for our state Assembly districts.

Call your legislators to oppose judicial and all other gerrymandering and to support the criteria bill HB2638. Mention that your vote depends on results. These legislators, our employees, deserve to be fired for ignoring voters. At the next election, vote the gerrymanderers out.

Debra Trudeau
State College

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