Coming in Fall 2018: Draw the Lines, Pennsylvania’s first statewide redistricting competition

PA12th and 7th
PA’s 12th (left) and 7th (right) Congressional districts. Ask yourself: do these boundaries make sense? (Graphics retrieved from Wikipedia)

Voting is the most fundamental act of American democracy. But do you ever stop to think about the boundaries for the districts from which we elect our representatives? How are they drawn? And when they are drawn by politicians, do they really represent voters’ best interests? It is akin to having a job applicant choose the location and time of their interview with a prospective employer and what questions the employer can ask. And regardless of their answers, the applicant gets the job anyway.

This periodic process of determining where our district boundaries are drawn, known as redistricting, shapes government on a local, state, and national level. Pennsylvania’s current and future voters should control the process through which they “interview and select” their elected officials as employees of their government.

Early in 2018, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court ruled that the commonwealth’s congressional map was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. After the legislature and governor failed to agree to a new map, the court implemented it’s own congressional map. The chaotic weeks since have been filled with partisan sniping and rushed decisions made behind closed doors. This new map, whatever its merits, will always live beneath a partisan cloud.

Remember, Pennsylvania will have to draw new maps in 2021, just three years from now. And It likely will have to draw its congressional map from scratch due to the loss of at least one seat in reapportionment.

We have a chance to fix this process now, putting it into the hands of civic-minded voters.

Join us in 2018 for Draw the Lines, a nonpartisan, statewide mapping competition to put the same digital tools used by the political pros into the hands of Pennsylvania’s voters and students. Working together, citizens can create a process that produces better maps and a renewed sense of civic engagement among Pennsylvanians.

You can get started on the push now. Sign up and we’ll send you details on how to get involved.