Bucks Writs - Summer 2017 - 8

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Redistricting Reform
How a Citizens Commission Can End Gerrymandering,
Return Sanity to our Political Process and Even Improve Our Economy

- By -
Theresa Martin
Golding

I

t has famously been described as Goofy kicking
Donald Duck. Is it a cartoon drawing? A Rorschach
inkblot test? No, it's Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional
District, one of the most gerrymandered congressional
districts in the country. It stretches, dips, cuts, and curves
in a highly contorted fashion over five separate counties,
lumping together Pennsylvania voters from the Maryland
border with voters north of Reading and those living
east of Blue Bell.

Pennsylvania is one of the most
gerrymandered states in the country
- and there are numbers to prove it.
Quantitative analysis found Pennsylvania
to be one of three states with consistently
extreme levels of partisan bias.

Is there a reason anyone should care? Haven't politicians
been engaging in gerrymandering since Eldridge Gerry,
its namesake, approved a salamander shaped district
in Massachusetts back in 1812? Whether you are a
Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, there is plenty
of reason to care.

concerns of constituents. Elections are not competitive
and are usually decided in the low-voter-turnout primaries.
In 2016, in a shocking 57% of Pennsylvania state house
general election races, there was just one person on
the ballot. The opposition party did not even field a
candidate. Over 91% of races had an incumbent running
for reelection and 86% of races had no primary opponent.
Pennsylvania voters feel disenfranchised, and rightly so.

Competitive Elections Create
Robust Representation
With the advent of mapping technologies and voter
sorting software, partisan legislators now use very precise
tools to draw the district lines around the voters that they
want, creating exceptionally safe seats. When legislators
are in safe seats, they have no incentive to work with
their colleagues across the aisle or even to address the

Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in
the country - and there are numbers to prove it. The
Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy
institute dedicated to improving our democracy, analyzed

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Summer 2017

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/BucksWritsSpring2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2017
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