Proposal aims to curb Pennsylvania gerrymandering

    A measure proposed in the Pennsylvania Legislature is looking to change how the state draws its legislative and congressional districts. (Image via Shutterstock)

    A measure proposed in the Pennsylvania Legislature is looking to change how the state draws its legislative and congressional districts. (Image via Shutterstock)

    A measure proposed in the Pennsylvania House is aimed at changing how the state draws its legislative and congressional districts.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Parker, said the measure would cut down on gerrymandering.

    Gerrymandering — the practice of drawing legislative maps to benefit a political party — is prevalent in Pennsylvania.

    Parker said the ultimate results don’t benefit constituents.

    “When these districts become so large and kind of snake around and are odd shapes, it’s difficult for them to truly represent everybody in the whole district,” said Parker, R-Monroe.

    House Bill 1835 would amend the state’s constitution and seek to decrease party influence on districts by creating an independent “citizens commission” to oversee drawing of legislative and congressional boundaries.

    In 2001, Parker said, his own county suffered from politically driven redistricting, going from four senators to six.

    “None of them needed a Monroe County vote to win their seat, and none of them even lived in Monroe County,” Parker said. “So consequently, we really didn’t have very good representation. It might sound nice to have six senators, but if none of them live in your county, and none of them need any votes in your county, there’s nobody advocating for you.”

    Along with taking redistricting responsibilities away from politicians, Parker’s plan would also limit how many state senators and representatives a county can have, based on population.

    A companion bill is currently in the Senate.

    Parker said he’s expecting to tackle the bill after the November election.

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