In a matter of days, one way or another, Pennsylvania is going to have new boundaries drawn for its 18 congressional districts, just in time for the 2018 elections.
Since the state Supreme Court tossed the existing congressional maps on Jan. 22, the focus has been mostly on the political fallout. But this shouldn’t be a partisan issue; for the sake of our commonwealth, it can’t be a partisan issue.
Pennsylvanians want maps that are fair to all, not weighted toward either party — Republican or Democrat. Attention should be focused instead on making sure voters truly have a voice on issues that matter most to them.
That means any new boundaries must reflect our modern Pennsylvania, including its racial diversity. Currently, two of the state’s congressional districts comprise a majority of people of color. Any new maps must preserve this representation.
To regain voter confidence, the process must be transparent. Politicians draw districts to give themselves or their party an unfair advantage. Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around. And mapmakers from both parties should disclose the data they use to draw district lines.
The congressional map issue has been portrayed a big headache that will require a lot of work to remedy in a short amount of time. What it is instead is a grand opportunity for Pennsylvania to finally draw maps that guarantee every resident has fair representation.
Common Cause Pennsylvania