About the effort
Voters should choose their politicians instead of politicians choosing their voters. For too long, Pennsylvania politicians of both parties have used “gerrymandering” to choose their voters and protect political interests, turning democracy on its head. Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering is committed to ending the practice of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, once and for all.
What is Gerrymandering?
Gerrymandering is the manipulation of political boundaries to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group. Every 10 years, after the decennial Census, congressional and legislative districts have to be redrawn to equalize their population. This is called redistricting. While this process sounds like it should be simple, Pennsylvania uses politicians to redraw its districts, creating a conflict of interest. When politicians draw lines to maximize power and protect incumbents, this is gerrymandering.
Who is Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering?
Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering consists of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who are committed to ending gerrymandering in Pennsylvania and promoting reform. We are working together to put in place reforms that advantage neither party.
Why is Gerrymandering so Bad?
Gerrymandering is not conducive to good representation. Politicians seek to maximize power and minimize risk, so they draw district boundaries designed to ensure easy reelection and maximize the power of their party and their allies. When districts are safely Republican or Democrat, elections are effectively won during the primary. Legislators focus on appealing to a small segment of the electorate – highly conservative Republican primary voters or very liberal Democrat primary voters – instead of appealing to the broader electorate. The ideological gap between Republican and Democratic legislators, therefore, grows. Polarization ensues. Big problems go unaddressed.
Let’s fix it
How Would Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering’s Plan Fix this Problem?
Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering’s reforms would do the following:
- Create independent citizens commissions, balanced equally between the two largest political parties but also including independent voters, to redraw districts every 10 years.
- Require map-drawers to utilize neutral criteria, such as minimizing county and city splits, preserving communities of interest, and ensuring compactness.
- Take map-drawing out of the hands of professional politicians, their staff, and the courts.
- Ensure redistricting is conducted transparently and with public input, by requiring the commissioners to hold multiple public hearings, accept public comment, and comply with open meetings laws.
For more information, contact Pennsylvanians Against Gerrymandering at [email protected].