HARRISBURG (March 16, 2016) – The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWVPA) commends the bipartisan, bicameral group of dedicated legislators who are working to change the way Pennsylvania districts are drawn. This effort was publically launched today at a press conference that included legislative champions and advocates from LWVPA, Fair Districts PA, and Common Cause PA.
As a member of Fair Districts PA (www.FairDistrictsPA.com), LWVPA is partnering with a growing number of organizations and individuals across the state that recognize the importance of reforming Pennsylvania’s redistricting process.
Accordingly, LWVPA enthusiastically joins Fair Districts PA in endorsing companion bills Senate Bill 484 sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) and House Bill 1835 sponsored by Representatives David Parker (R – Monroe) and Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery). These bills are designed to create a fair, impartial and open process for creating legislative districts in Pennsylvania. Susan Carty, President of LWVPA said, “The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania has been at the forefront of the fight for fair districts in Pennsylvania for decades. Fair districts are the key to make our democracy work as it should. When politicians choose their voters rather than the other way around, gridlock and voter disenfranchisement are the inevitable results.”
“No matter what issues are important to you – education, environment, taxes, healthcare –the way districts are drawn in Pennsylvania has a significant impact,” said Carty. “That is why we are so pleased that this bipartisan, bicameral group of legislative champions is committed to moving forward on the path to reform.”
According to an article “Redistricting Reform: The Time Is Now” in The Pennsylvania Voter, Winter 2016, by Lora Lavin:
Every 10 years states redraw the boundaries of their congressional and legislative districts to meet the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote. When these districts are drawn to benefit specific parties or to ensure re-election of specific legislators, this process is called ‘gerrymandering.’ Pennsylvania is considered one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Gerrymandering deprives voters of meaningful choices when they go to the polls. Around the country, state Leagues are acting to reform redistricting in anticipation of 2021 when all congressional and legislative districts will again be redrawn. An ideal bill would assign redistricting authority to an independent Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Commission composed of a politically diverse group of qualified members of the voting public chosen to assure the fairness of the process. The commission’s work would be guided by strict anti-gerrymandering standards under a transparent process that maximizes opportunities for public participation.
For more information go to www.palwv.org