Legal Move Deployed To Stop Gerrymandered Pennsylvania Maps


A lawsuit has been filed in Pennsylvania that’s seeking to get fair Congressional district maps in place ahead of the 2022 elections in the state, and according to the voting rights organization known as Democracy Docket, acting Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid agrees with the push. As Democracy Docket summarizes, the case “points out that Pennsylvania’s current congressional map, which was drawn using 2010 census data, is malapportioned given population shifts over the last decade and contains an extra district after the state lost a congressional seat following the 2020 census.” Considering the lack of any agreement between state legislators and the governor on a new map before the end of the year, those behind the case want court action.

The position of Secretary of the Commonwealth is equivalent to the position of Secretary of State in other states. As Democracy Docket explains, those responsible for this case want “the court to block the use of the current congressional map in future elections because it violates the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions and adopt a new congressional map that is fairly apportioned.” Having a U.S. House district map in place that fairly reflects the people whose representatives are chosen within it is imperative for the appropriate functioning of our government. If representatives are elected by groups who have an outsized influence in the electoral process compared to their part of the general population, then the main drive of democracy itself would be threatened. All Americans, not just some of them, are supposed to be represented.

Elsewhere in the country, concerned observers are grappling with the problem of gerrymandering, which involves the manipulation by certain political leaders of the district line-drawing process. Republicans have been at the forefront of this: in Ohio, Republican authorities recently approved a U.S. House district map, which is the subject of court disputes, that seems set to give Republicans control of some 80 percent of the state’s seats. Trump won there in 2020 with a much smaller margin, meaning that the map does not appear to accurately reflect the political distribution of the population. Redistricting expert Dave Wasserman shared regarding a court hearing over the Ohio map, that, “based on oral arguments so far,” he’d be “pretty surprised if the GOP-drawn congressional map is upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.”