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Pennsylvania Democrats Are Gearing Up To Stop The PA GOP From Gerrymandering The PA Supreme Court

4 min read

Received this e-mail today from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:

Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate, Superior Court Justice Maria McLaughlin (D. PA)

Pennsylvania's Vote By Mail request form is now available for the 2021 elections! With key local offices on the ballot, Democrats need to vote with the same great fervor as last year, and many find mail-in voting the most convenient way to be heard.

If you want to vote by mail in Pennsylvania's 2021 elections, click here to request your ballot today!

or click here to confirm your Vote By Mail status

Voting by mail in 2021 follows the same easy process that millions of Pennsylvanians followed in 2020: request, mark, return! Even if you added yourself to the “permanent mail-in list” last year, you must still complete the request form in 2021.

Whether you choose to vote by mail, early in-person, or at your polling place, we're here again to guide you every step of the way. If mail-in voting is right for you, get started right now by requesting your ballot and enrolling in PA Dems' VBM alerts!

Richard Robinson
Digital Director | PA Democrats

Click here to request your 2021 vote by mail ballot.

2021 is going to be a very important year for Democracy:

Pennsylvania Republicans in the General Assembly are fast-tracking a constitutional amendment that will fundamentally change the state’s three courts of appeals — Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme Courts — by electing judges based on newly created districts instead of statewide elections.
If both chambers pass the measure before Feb. 18, it will be on the ballot in the May primary.
Proponents of the measure point out that a majority of judges in the statewide courts are from either Philadelphia or Allegheny County — including four of seven Supreme Court justices. State Rep. Russ Diamond (R., Lebanon), who introduced the amendment, argues that geography is part of what shapes judicial ideology, and the high courts should reflect geographic diversity.
The constitutional amendment is not an effort to increase representation on the bench. It is a power grab by the legislative branch. Gerrymandering, the exercise of drawing district maps to ensure politically homogenous districts, has become a science. By drawing and controlling the map of judicial districts, the legislature would control the branch that is supposed to act as its check.
The process of drawing the map will be another partisan fight — just as drawing legislative districts maps is now. How will disputes over the fairness of the map, as the one the court settled for congressional districts in 2018, be addressed when the court itself is at issue?
Judicial districts don’t only give more power to the legislature, they also give donors and interest groups more power to influence judges.

And Pennsylvania Republicans, which refuse to give up on Trumpism, are eager to get control of the courts:

In Pennsylvania, Republicans have largely directed their ire over the election at Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the top elections official, and the majority-Democratic state Supreme Court.
But Republican leaders in the GOP-led legislature also face pressure to repeal or tighten a 2019 law that allowed any voter to vote by mail. After Trump’s months-long effort to overturn the results, and his repeated false assertions that the election was stolen, some voters still don’t trust the outcome.
“There are so many people that somehow believe … this election is going to be reversed,” said Al Lindsay, the GOP chairman in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh. “They still believe it. They believe so strongly that the election was not proper.”
Lindsay said the local party is largely focused on “dealing with election irregularities.”
“We’re not talking about claiming fraud or that the election would have been different,” he said. “What we are suggesting is some of the things that occurred have caused many people to question the integrity of the process.”
GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg have taken note. Last week a state House panel held the first of 14 hearings on the election, and the Senate is also expected to undertake a review.
Whatever divisions the party will have to resolve in the next few elections, Republicans say they’ll unite against the policy agenda pushed by Democrats in Washington. “The loyalty to Trump is not so much to his personality but the profound antagonism for the [Democratic] agenda,” Lindsay said, adding that Republicans also have “profound mistrust of the news media.”

Click below to donate and get involved with these Pennsylvania Democrats running for the courts.

Maria McLaughlin for Supreme Court

Carolyn Nichols for Supreme Court

Timika Lane for Superior Court

Jill Beck for Superior Court

Bryan Neft for Superior Court

Sierra Thomas Street for Commonwealth Court

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