Second Pa. gerrymandering challenge heads to trial today

Written by Emily Previti/Keystone Crossroads | Dec 11, 2017 5:25 AM

Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District is often considered the poster child of gerrymandering. The district cuts through five counties and a number of municipalities including Chester, Upper Darby and Glenolden. On the map, the district looks like an alien character from the classic arcade game Space Invaders. (Map Source)

(Harrisburg) -- By some measures, Pennsylvania's Congressional districts are among the most gerrymandered in the nation.

But the resulting district maps are being challenged, and one case is slated to begin today in Commonwealth Court.

The League of Women Voters is bringing the lawsuit on behalf of registered voters from all over the state.

They're accusing Republicans of intentionally designing districts so that Democrats' votes are diluted, which they argue is a violation of the state constitution's equal protection clause.

They are calling for a new map

Both parties gerrymander -- when they have a chance.

Republicans are targeted in this case because they controlled the state legislature during the last two redistricting cycles, which happen every 10 years after the U.S. Census.

 A decision isn't expected on this case until January, but this week's court proceedings could shed more light on the mapmaking process.  

A similar case in federal court last week in Philadelphia offered some insights into a process e that's been cloaked in secrecy.

In that case, a group of Democratic voters argues the map should be thrown out because no political considerations should be allowed in redistricting.

The Pennsylvania cases are proceeding as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to set new standards for drawing political district lines.

To learn more about redistricting in Pennsylvania, check out our Over the Line series. It was produced in collaboration with PennLive and public media organizations across the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Published in News

Tagged under , , , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »