Letter to the editor: Preventing gerrymandering
With news of the Supreme Court open to hearing gerrymandering cases from North Carolina and Maryland, it’s time to fan the inferno about Pennsylvania’s own redistricting reform.
For a long time, I believed that promoting an independent, nonpartisan citizens’ commission on redistricting that is proposed by Fair Districts PA was the right answer. Someone asked me who would pick the people to serve on the commission, and I realized that there is no such thing as an independent, nonpartisan anything.
A commission would just be another layer of partisan bureaucracy for our state government. Such a thing was killed by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe anyway last year when he eviscerated House Bills 722 and 563 and Senate Bill 22 as chairman of the House State Government Committee. Maybe he unwittingly did us a favor?
Since it seems impossible to wrangle control from the General Assembly, let’s work with that instead of trying to fight it. What we need is to write the rules to be idiot-proof, or even Metcalfe-proof. We need to lay out the terms of drawing district lines so explicitly that it would be impossible to gerrymander ever again.
Keep districts compact. Only use geography and population data from the census, then feed it to a computer algorithm and press a button. Instead of trying to circumvent the Legislature, let’s use it to our advantage. It’s like the old saying, if you can’t go around a thing, go through it.
The writer is a candidate for Pennsylvania’s 37th