Redistricting/Gerrymandering Call to Action
by Jason Magidson, member Haverford Democratic Party and Concerned Citizens for Democracy
With the release of the 2020 census data on August 12, the redrawing of district boundaries will lock in place fair or unfair districts for the next decade. If we don’t get partisan gerrymandering under control, our state government goes out of control for a decade or more! We must use our voices – people in power need to hear from us.
Fortunately, there are some small things we can do that will make a big difference in Pennsylvania.
Here are some easy options for action:
- Refresh your knowledge about how reapportionment and redistricting work
- Submit a comment to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC). Your comments need not be technical or sophisticated; the NUMBER of comments is the key thing; and, folks making different points (not sounding canned) is also important. See example talking points below.
- Click here to Subscribe for updates from the LRC
- Email your views to the chair of the LRC, Mark Nordenberg – email@example.com
- Write a letter to the editor about redistricting reform to a local paper such as Delco Times
Here are some bigger, exciting options for action:
- Volunteer with an anti-gerrymandering group.
- One is Concerned Citizens for Democracy (CCFD). Email Jason Magidson for details – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Another is Fair Districts PA.
- Learn more about Democracy Docket, the organization founded by Marc Elias, that has already filed a lawsuit asking the Court to declare Pennsylvania’s current congressional district map unconstitutional and implement a new map that adheres to the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote.
Talking points on gerrymandering and redistricting
- The Founders of our country fought the War of Independence over fair representation. Gerrymandering deprives Pennsylvanians of fair representation.
- The health of our democracy depends on the integrity and fairness of our election system. The more rigged the system is, the more cynical and apathetic the citizenry will become.
- Pennsylvanians believe in fair play. Pennsylvanians, across the political spectrum, want to ban gerrymandering.
- If you’re sick of the hyper-partisanship in Harrisburg, you should be in favor of banning gerrymandering. By creating “safe” districts, gerrymandering increases partisanship. The elected official needs to appeal only to the base and can ignore a huge chunk of his or her district. If the official dares to compromise, the party leaders can “primary” that elected official for being insufficiently partisan. Wouldn’t it be better to incentivize decent compromise and civility instead of bullying and rudeness?
- Reduce or eliminate partisan gerrymandering by requiring independent (i.e., non-partisan) redistricting commissions.
- Newly drawn districts must be compact and minimize splits of political entities (e.g., counties, municipalities, wards or precincts).
- The redistricting process must be transparent: all communications among those involved in drawing maps must be made public in real-time; the public has a right to see and comment on any proposed maps.
- We must depoliticize the redistricting process. We need an independent citizen redistricting commission.