For Immediate Release
February 4, 2022
Contact: Kirstin Snow, email@example.com
Statement of PA Budget and Policy Center on Legislative Reapportionment Commission Maps
by Marc Stier
Pennsylvanians will be more fairly represented because the Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) took important steps to adopt maps that are fairer than any time in recent memory.
These maps look very different from the current ones because they aim to adjust for dramatic population changes over the last ten years and to remedy two decades of extreme gerrymandering.
Because they do so, both maps are fairer and more representative of the people of Pennsylvania than the old ones. The people should pick their representatives, not the other way around. As a result, we expect that we will get better policy and elected officials will be more responsive to their constituents than to special interests and extreme partisanship.
We appreciate the many citizens who took part in the process and commend Commissioner Nordenberg, in particular, for playing his difficult but necessary role of tie-breaker.
Predictably, Republicans have criticized the maps because they are losing the enormous advantage they had under the maps of the last two decades. They have recently taken to making a new argument for that advantage, saying that the districting map should follow the “natural political geography” of Pennsylvania—in which low-income and Black voters, who tend to vote Democratic, are concentrated in urban areas. We believe, however, that there is no such thing as a “natural political geography.” History shows us that economic and racial segregation is the product of decades of public policy that includes redlining, zoning restrictions on low-income housing in the suburbs, the placement of new highways, and urban renewal programs. Giving any weight to the so-called “natural political geography” of the state would thus be immoral and undemocratic and would violate both the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
In sum, we applaud the districts presented by the LRC. Pennsylvania will be better off for being more fairly represented.