Polling Place Outreach Reaches Thousands of Voters

PA Voters want an Independent Redistricting Commission

On Primary Election Day, Fair Districts PA volunteers from across the state again donned their FDPA apparel and invited voters to sign a petition in support of an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) to draw our congressional and state legislative maps. Some volunteers put in a shift near home before or after work. Others gave an entire day to volunteer in a region where we need to grow. In all, over 175 volunteers and captains invested time to reach voters at 41 polling places from Erie to Philadelphia and 22 other counties in between. At firehouses, rec centers, churches, and township buildings, volunteers answered questions, and explained why redistricting happens. Not all voters are familiar with the word gerrymandering, but all understood quickly that it’s a conflict of interest to allow legislative leaders to draw their own district lines.

Neaarly 4000 voters signed petitions

For some voters, just the mention of redistricting was enough to gain quick support. Others wanted more explanation. Some took information with them to consider at home. One man caught a volunteer packing up to leave, saying “My wife said I should sign this as soon as I got here. We’ve been talking about this and are glad to see someone working to fix it.” A mother, stopping to sign, called to her daughter who had walked on ahead. “Remember you told me about gerrymandering? Here’s a way to help fix it!” Despite light in-person turnout in most locations, nearly 4000 voters signed the petition. Those signers included young voters voting for the first time and one gentleman who was celebrating his 99th birthday.

At several polls, candidates and incumbents talked with voters on their way into polling places while FDPA volunteers talked to those same voters on their way out. The prospective and current legislators were direct witnesses of popular support for an IRC among their constituents. In rural areas, suburban areas, cities large and small, Pennsylvanians understand that unfair districts hurt all of us.

One group was missing

Since independent and third-party voters are not allowed to vote in Pennsylvania primaries, FDPA volunteers weren’t able to talk with that important block of citizens, now over 15% of PA registered voters. The proposed IRC would give them a real seat at the table, since it would consist of four voters from the largest party in PA, four voters from the second largest party, and three voters who are either unaffiliated or members of third parties.

It’s not too late to participate!

There are over 7,000 polls in our state. Even if you were allowed to vote in the primary, chances are you didn’t see a Fair Districts PA volunteer. But you can still be part of the effort to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania and make your vote count.