News Worms
News Worms

Analysis finds GOP skew in Pennsylvania plan

Analysis finds GOP skew in Pennsylvania plan

Governor Thom Wolf announced Tuesday he will not submit a new map outlining congressional boundaries in the Commonwealth to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

"The Republican leadership in both chambers blocked this process, refused to negotiate, and have now submitted a map directly to your office that we have not even seen", they wrote. "Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party, which is the essence of why the court found the current map to be unconstitutional". In the new proposed map, Butler County remained in the same district. Suzanne Almeida is the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters in Pennsylvania, the organization which brought the lawsuit to the high court.

The new map "is indeed an extreme outlier, exhibiting a decidedly partisan skew that can not be explained by Pennsylvania's political geography or the application of traditional districting principles", she said in a

The court's January 22 order said the new plan will be in place by February 19, which is Presidents' Day.

"The proposed Joint Submission Plan is extremely, and unnecessarily, partisan", she said.

"The map that Republicans put forward does practically nothing to fix the partisan gerrymandering that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found violated the state's constitution", former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement released over the weekend.

Wolf pointed to several experts who said the newest GOP map was partisan.

The petitioners in the case also complained that GOP leaders cooked this up privately instead of involving any Democrats or holding hearings.

The map by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati would reduce dozens of municipal or county divisions while keeping almost 70 percent of state residents in their existing districts.

In a response to the governor's letter, Republican leaders countered with a letter which states, in part, "quit being coy". The GOP proposal cuts the number of counties divided from 28 to 15 and the number of municipalities split by congressional districts from 68 to 17.

Scarnati and Turzai are refuting the governor's complaints that they've chosen to link the cities of Erie and Reading to Republican-friendly rural areas, and defending their decision to keep about 70 percent of state residents in their existing districts.

A mathematics professor at Tufts University in Boston, Duchin dabbles in writing congressional district maps.

Democratic leaders sent a letter to the Governor on Friday saying the map was not the product of bipartisan work, and are asking Governor Wolf to reject it. "Only the 2011 plan that is now in effect started from a more severe partisan skew and stood out more in this test". In other words, the race would have been viewed by funders in Washington as competitive - and they might have dumped in cash as they promised to help turn the district blue.

The fact of the matter is, the Supreme Court wants to draw these lines itself.

The reasons our Senator Pro Tempore is choosing to defy our state Supreme Court are obvious.


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