It's 2022, which means Pennsylvania's new  election maps need to be done ASAP. This page helps you analyze the draft congressional and legislative maps that are emerging from Harrisburg.

Congressional Map

In 2018 the Supreme Court overturned the 2011 map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and had a special master draw a new map. That map was an improvement across the board on the 2011 map. But Pennsylvania is losing a seat due to slow population growth, so PA has to scramble its map for the 2022-2030 elections.

The 2018 congressional map

The General Assembly is responsible for producing a congressional map for the governor's signature or veto.

So far, only the House State Government Committee has done so. How does it measure up? Our Map Corps members scored the map on three categories: 

Requirements: B ... it meets basic requirements like compactness and reducing splits. We've seen maps, including our Citizens' Map, that does better.

Fairness: C-minus ... the bias isn't nearly as bad as the 2011 map, but it still favors the GOP by one seat more than their statewide vote-share would indicate. Once again, the Citizens' Map is less biased and more competitive.

Public process: D ... they held a dozen public hearings and shared a draft map, but there was little explanation behind why they chose the map they did, and then they switched that citizen-drawn map with their own before passing it to the House floor. 

How does that map compare to the Pennsylvania Citizens' Map? Pennsylvania's citizen mappers were able to balance the metrics much more effectively.

So where does that leave us? The congressional map needs to be finalized by the end of January, before the nominating petition period begins. If the General Assembly and the governor can't agree on a map, then the courts will likely step in.

We think the PA Citizens' Map is a viable option for any of the three branches of government to strongly consider.

State House Map

Note: The public has until January 18th to share their comments with the LRC on both the State House and Senate preliminary maps.

We recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect map. However, the preliminary State House plan is a significant improvement over the current map. It splits fewer counties -- 45; the current map splits 50 -- and fewer municipalities -- 61 to 77. The preliminary plan is more compact, by 3 to 7%, depending on the metric. While it gives a slight advantage to Republicans, it is far more balanced (2.9% more favorable to Republicans) than the current one (6.8% more favorable to the GOP). It also creates seven districts without a current incumbent where voters of color make up a sizable voting bloc and could elect a new state representative.

Some weaknesses: it has a wide population variance; the largest district is about 9.3% more populated than the smallest. It also has fewer competitive districts, a trade-off possibly made to improve on the constitutionally required criteria like compactness and minimizing splits and to ensure broader statewide partisan fairness.

There are significantly more incumbent Republican representatives bunked together in the same district (seven pairings, versus one for Democrats), though much of this can be explained by the expansion of rural districts held by Republicans that lost population over the last decade.

While we would support changes requested by specific communities to improve local representation, we think the LRC has a strong start with its preliminary House plan.

 

State Senate Map

The preliminary Senate plan appears to be a modest improvement over the current map, with room to get better. It splits fewer counties -- 22 versus 25 -- and the same number of municipalities (6). It is between 1 to 7% more compact. The preliminary map is slightly more politically balanced, though it still holds an embedded Republican advantage (5.4%, versus 7%). It has a wide population deviation (9.6%), which could be improved.

Intentional or not, it prioritizes incumbency more so than the House map (only one set of incumbents matched together), which was a value that our mappers roundly rejected. Draw the Lines is not endorsing any particular alternative, but we can easily point to another map drawn by a member of our Citizen Map Corps that improves upon the preliminary Senate map in every metric. It demonstrates that the LRC can do better in its final Senate map.

Draw the Lines is not endorsing any particular senate map as an alternative. However, in our exception for the senate map we will link to another map drawn by a member of our Citizen Map Corps from Pike County that improves upon the preliminary senate map in every metric, at the expense of four sets of incumbents being bunked together. It’s a demonstration that the LRC can do better in its final Senate map. 

 

A note on the LRC's process

We commend the way the commission’s preliminary maps were shared in December. Chairman Nordenberg spelled out the process by which both the house and senate maps were drawn in great detail, displayed the quantitative metrics for each map in comparison to the current maps. As of early January, the LRC has received over 1,500 public comments. We would hope that the members of the House and Senate State Government Committees took note and will use the limited time they have to produce a congressional map for the governor’s consideration.