Appeals filed over fractured towns in Pa. redistricting plan

    Opponents have filed at least 11 appeals to the Pennsylvania legislative redistricting plan. Many of the appeals take aim at the number of redrawn districts that break up towns and counties.

    The state Constitution says counties and towns should not be divided by district lines unless absolutely necessary.

    It’s a point Michael Churchill, a lawyer at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, wants to make.

    Churchill, who has filed an appeal on behalf of 13 people, said so many communities are broken up because mapmakers drew districts to include the homes of incumbents.

    “They were trying to make sure that they didn’t change the boundaries so much that many incumbents would lose their seats,” he said.

    Sam Stretton, who is representing two Chester County mayors whose municipalities would be split under the plan, said the history of redistricting appeals doesn’t give him great hope for his own case.

    “Do I think I can win? Well, I would agree with the existing case law, I am rolling up waterfalls,” he said. “I believe we’re right on this and we intend to fight it. But it’s very difficult.”

    The deadline for filing redistricting appeals has passed, but more valid appeals could arrive in the mail in the coming days.

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