Surgical precision

ROSE REEDER

Lock Haven

Both parties do it! And both parties are wrong when they do it.

Fair Districts Pa. has been speaking to citizens all over Pennsylvania and our focus is to take all politics out of redistricting after the census in 2020.

Clinton County supports Fair Districts Pa. fully.

Fair Districts Pa. is working to gain support for HB722 and SB22, which call for an end to the partisan redistricting commission to be replaced by an independent citizens’ commission.

Presently, there are two redistricting situations, one for Congress and one for State voting districts. The party that holds the majority in Congress will control the map drawing/redistricting for Congress. Their congressional district map is voted on and then the governor can accept or veto it. At the state level, there is a bipartisan commission with a Chairperson usually appointed by the State Supreme Court. This fifth person is to be neutral, however, they often have a bias. Thus, this commission usually ends up with a political bias, which then dominates the map drawing at the state level. All of this allows politicians to choose their voters, to some degree, and not the other way around.

Right now voting districts are carved up with surgical precision based on computer data mining to find out where Republicans are and where Democrats are. Once registration information is known, the boundaries of some communities are twisted and bent in such a way that numbers will favor the majority party in one way or another. Both parties have utilized this tool; it is not illegal. It is, however, wrong. The suggested independent commission would be made up of citizens who have no ties to politics or politicians. They would be charged with creating voting districts based on geography, keeping communities intact, and including the right number of citizens as dictated by the census results. They will not be able to target any citizens for political purposes because they will not have access to any party registration information. This suggested commission would be made up of 4 Democrats, 4 Republicans and 3 others, i.e., Greens, Libertarians, etc., all of whom will be randomly picked from a pool of applicants. It would no longer be a 2 party commission.

Yes, some communities will have definite political characteristics, but it will be the natural common ground of community inhabitants. It will not be an artificial and intentional gleaning of advantages by mutilating community boundaries.

Ronald Reagan, in a speech to Governors in 1996 said: “Gerrymandering is a National Disgrace!” Newt Gingrich said Gerrymandering leads to bad government. Many pundits and political celebrities, Republican and Democrats alike, have been outspoken against Gerrymandering.

This is an issue about the quality of each and every vote. In communities that have been heavily Gerrymandered, the value of some votes are truly wasted and count for nothing, some are merely diluted, while some are given excessive value. Fair Districts calls for one vote, one person, and all votes are counted equally and fairly based on fair redistricting maps. That principle cannot exist in a politically biased, Gerrymandered system. Ruth Bader Ginsberg said it well, she asked: “What is behind all of this?” She then answered herself: “The precious right to vote!” That and all its ramifications are the issues.

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