Fair Districts PA, a grassroots organization in Pennsylvania, has been hard at work for over two years trying to pass legislation to end the partisan-controlled drawing of voting districts called GERRYMANDERING. This process is an abuse of our political process whereby politicians are choosing their voters instead of the voters choosing the politicians. It weakens the power of every voter by diluting and disenfranchising Pennsylvania voters. It is a practice that must be stopped.
Fair Districts PA was having remarkable success. In April 2017 Representative Eric Roe, a Republican, and Representative Steve Samuelson, a Democrat, introduced a bipartisan proposal, House Bill 722 (HB722), which seeks to establish a non-partisan independent citizens commission to redraw the election maps, which are scheduled to be redrawn after the 2020 census. Fair Districts PA lined up 110 of the 203 PA State Representatives (38 Republicans and 72 Democrats) as co-sponsors of HB722, an encouraging effort in bi-partisan legislation. It was looking very hopeful that we might finally be able to end gerrymandering.
On April 11, 2018, Daryl Metcalfe, Republican and chair of the House State Government Committee, pushed through an amendment to HB722 that eliminates the independent citizens commission and again places all the power of drawing our legislative districts in the hands of the politicians. I personally condemn this blatantly political abuse of power. If I am elected as a PA State Representative from the 107th, I pledge to fight for a non-partisan system of drawing our political districts.
I encourage everyone to call or write your PA State Representative and insist that redistricting legislation support an independent citizens commission to draw the districts because EVERY VOTE MATTERS!
Full disclosure note: I have been an activist for the Fair Districts PA plan, spending many hours in the summer of 2017 tabling at local community fairs. I have personally spoken to hundreds of people at these events, and I can say without hesitation that whether Democrat, Republican, third party affiliated voter or an Independent voter, a vast majority agrees that GERRYMANDERING must be stopped.