The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs and Philadelphia City Council adopt resolutions to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania through creation of independent citizens commission for legislative and congressional redistricting.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) on Tuesday, June 12, 2019, adopted a resolution seeking to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania by supporting legislation calling for the nonpartisan, redistricting reform proposed by Fair Districts PA.
“The resolution was passed 38 to1 on March 26 by the Bucks County officials in attendance,” Doylestown Borough Councilperson Don Berk said, “and was forwarded to the resolution committee at the PSAB. It was adopted on June 12.”
At its May 23 meeting, Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution that acknowledges the gerrymandering of Pennsylvania’s state legislative and congressional districts and its detrimental effect on representative democracy. Gerrymandering is the practice of a governing party gaining unfair political advantage by manipulating electoral district boundaries to its advantage.
“In Pennsylvania today, state legislators are basically allowed to choose their voters, instead of the other way around,” said Rebecca Womack, speaking for Philadelphia local group. “That hurts all Philadelphians because it disenfranchises voters, reduces electoral competition and contributes to governance that is dominated by gridlock instead of problem-solving.”
The PSAB is a statewide, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to serving 956 borough governments in Pennsylvania. Since 1911, PSAB has represented the interests of Pennsylvania boroughs and helped to shape the laws that laid their foundation.
The resolution said, in part, “the creation of a truly independent citizens redistricting commission devoid of political motivation or partisanship will: ensure a fair, transparent, and accurate legislative and congressional redistricting process that respects political subdivisions”; prohibit districts from being drawn to favor or discriminate against a political party or candidate; require the use of impartial and sound methodology when setting district boundaries; require public input; and fully comply with the constitutional requirement that “no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward” be divided “unless absolutely necessary.”
“The PSAB supports legislative efforts to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution and utilize an independent citizen redistricting commission,” said Chris Cap, the executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, “to promote a transparent process and equitable voting districts for all Pennsylvanians.”