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Smart Talk: Redistricting reform takes on greater importance during Census year

William Marx points out one of the districts that crossed four counties as an image of the old congressional districts of Pennsylvania are projected on a wall in the classroom where he teaches civics in Pittsburgh on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Marx was a plaintiff in the Pennsylvania lawsuit that successfully challenged the Republican-drawn congressional maps. Marx said he believes the new district boundaries resulted in

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

William Marx points out one of the districts that crossed four counties as an image of the old congressional districts of Pennsylvania are projected on a wall in the classroom where he teaches civics in Pittsburgh on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. Marx was a plaintiff in the Pennsylvania lawsuit that successfully challenged the Republican-drawn congressional maps. Marx said he believes the new district boundaries resulted in "a more fair congressional representation of the will of the people in Pennsylvania."

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Airdate: Thursday, March 18, 2021

The boundaries between U.S. states don’t change, but voting district boundaries within each state do and are redrawn every 10 years to coincide with the U.S. Census count.

The expectation is that districts within the state must have populations that are roughly equal to one another. The potential is that when districts are redrawn, gerrymandering may occur.

Gerrymandering is the drawing of the boundaries in a way that gives one party an unfair advantage over other parties. This year there are several factors compounding the risk of gerrymandered districts, including incomplete and delayed Census data and proposed legislation to change how judges are elected.

To highlight the issues on Smart Talk Thursday are Carol Kuniholm, Fair Districts PA Chair and David Thornburgh, President and CEO, Committee of Seventy.

Public utilities vulnerable to cyber threats

It is a frightening report. In early February a Florida water system operator noticed his computer cursor moving around on the screen, independent of his actions. A cyber hack was underway with the intruder altering the chemical levels involved in the water treatment.

That event, which is now under investigation, alarmed state and local utility officials around the country.

How vulnerable are Pennsylvania public utilities and water systems to a cyber threat?

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen is the Press Secretary for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and he appears on Smart Talk Thursday to address system safeguards.

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