Received this e-mail today from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party:
The fight for fair electoral maps kicked off in earnest today, when the US Census Bureau revealed each state’s updated number of US House seats. And the bad news is that Pennsylvania will soon have one less representative in Congress.
Republicans will fight tooth and nail to make sure the seat we lose is a Democratic one! Please chip in to help us STOP gerrymandering and DEFEND our US House majority.
PA has nine Dems and nine Republicans in the US House right now.
When maps are redrawn, Harrisburg Republicans will try eliminating a seat Democrats hold AND drawing much tougher districts for targeted Dems like Susan Wild, Matt Cartwright, and Conor Lamb — moving PA from a 9-9 balance to a 10-7 GOP edge, or worse.
Our plan to fight back is twofold:
- Raise the alarm, educate voters, and mobilize grassroots opposition against gerrymandering schemes.
- Build a grassroots army to defend all our Congressional leaders, especially those whose districts may get “redder.”
Also received this e-mail today from Fair Districts PA:
It’s a big week in the redistricting world. This afternoon states finally learned how many congressional delegates they’ll have for the next decade. Pennsylvania was one of seven states that lost one seat. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gained a seat, with Texas gaining two.
Attention now turns to preparation for redistricting. Today the four legislative leaders on the PA Legislative Reapportionment Commission heard statements from applicants to be chair of that commission. The hearing started at 1 pm and continues tomorrow at 9 am. If the four can’t agree on an impartial fifth by Friday, April 30, the PA Supreme Court will be choosing the chair. They’ll have until May 30 to do so. (Find links and details here.)
This all means time is short to pass redistricting reform. Attention to the need for fair maps is increasingly important. This Thursday, April 28, is the League of Women Voters National Day of Action, with a live-stream kick-off rally at 10 am. You can find that event and more details here.
Some of our local PA April Actions took place last weekend. There are almost twenty more scheduled for later this week. One with recently added details: Advocate to End Gerrymandering Now in Valley Forge Park with the Leagues of Women Voters of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Guest speakers include
- Mary Gay Scanlon, U.S. Congresswoman, Pennsylvania’s 5th District
- Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of Pennsylvania
- Amanda Holt, Legislative Map-Maker; provided impetus that helped end Pennsylvania’s redistricting fight following the 2010 Census
- David Thornburgh, CEO, Committee of Seventy; Chair, PA Redistricting Reform Commission
- Ben Geffen, attorney, Public Interest Law Center; litigated the successful 2018 map challenge
Polling Place Outreach Lite: Choose a poll and bring a partner
Polling place outreach has been one of our best ways of gaining visibility and reaching voters about the issue of gerrymandering. We put that on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19. Now that many of us are fully vaccinated, we’re introducing Polling Place Outreach Lite for the May 18 primary and special elections.
You can choose to work at your own poll or if your legislators are co-sponsors, ask to be assigned to a polling place in a district where legislators are not co-sponsors.
Legislator not a co-sponsor? Send a simple email to ask whyAs part of our March toward Transparency, almost 800 volunteers have met with 145 legislators, with more meetings scheduled soon. As a result of that work, we continue adding co-sponsors almost every day. HB 22 now has 67 co-sponsors (47 Democrats and 20 Republicans). SB 222 has 18 co-sponsors (12 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 1 Independent.
Some legislators said they’d co-sponsor or expressed support but never signed on. Some refuse to meet. A handful of others have ignored repeated requests.
Take a look and see if your own legislators have signed on. If not? Send a short, quick email asking why. Keep it simple: “I’m your constituent. I support LACRA (HB22/SB222). You haven’t co-sponsored it. I would like to know why.”
I know you’ve been hearing from us more than usual. That’s because time is short, the stakes are high and what happens in the next few months will shape PA politics, policy and more for at least the next decade. It will take work from all of us to make sure our maps are fair.
Thanks for taking action!
Fair Districts PA