Pennsylvania group to keep pushing for independent redistricting commission
Pennsylvania advocates for redistricting reform will keep pushing for an independent commission to oversee the process in light of Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to keep courts out of state efforts to address gerrymandering.
“The better outcome would be to say that all voters do have the right to free and equal elections, and that there are specific standards for what that might look like,” said Carol Kuniholm, chair of the group Fair Districts PA.
In the absence of such direction, Kuniholm said Pennsylvania — already among the most gerrymandered states in terms of state House and Senate districts, she said — is back to where it started, with no option for recourse in the courts if state officials don’t draw district lines fairly.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that states can achieve fair redistricting by passing reforms.
That argument highlights the need for an independent commission composed of citizens who are not elected officials and do not benefit from how the lines are drawn in order to keep their jobs, Kuniholm said.
“It’s a Catch-22: Reform is not possible if your legislative leaders don’t listen,” Kuniholm said. “And they don’t need to listen if they have gerrymandered maps.”
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .