Academics rank Pa. near bottom of electoral integrity scale

Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District is often considered the poster child of gerrymandering. The district cuts through five counties and a number of municipalities including Chester, Upper Darby and Glenolden. (Map Source/Keystone Crossroads)

Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District is often considered the poster child of gerrymandering. The district cuts through five counties and a number of municipalities including Chester, Upper Darby and Glenolden. (Map Source/Keystone Crossroads)

An independent report from an academic group has given Pennsylvania a dismal ranking in how well it conducts its elections.

The Electoral Integrity Project — which is based out of Harvard University and the University of Sydney — has the Keystone State tied for fifth-worst in the country.

The group ranked states based on 12 criteria, including electoral laws and procedures, media coverage, campaign finance, and district boundaries.

Like most states, Pennsylvania did well in areas concerning the actual running of the election, scoring well above 50 percent in areas like vote counting.

But it scored near the bottom — just 11 out of 100 — in district boundaries. Only Wisconsin and North Carolina were worse in that category.

Basically, the problem is gerrymandering — redrawing district lines to favor a certain political party. The last time congressional districts were redrawn, in 2012, Republicans controlled more state legislatures (as they still do today), so the gerrymandering tends to favor them.

The problem is not specific to Pennsylvania, though several studies — like a 2014 one from the University of Chicago — have shown it to be one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the union.

According to the report, President-elect Donald Trump won states that scored low on electoral integrity. However, it added, it can’t be definitively proven whether Trump won as a direct result of any malpractice.

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