December 8th, 2021
Today, the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee released a preliminary Congressional redistricting map for public input. In response, David Thornburgh, Chair of Draw the Lines PA, released the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Today, the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee released a preliminary Congressional redistricting map for public input. In response, David Thornburgh, Chair of Draw the Lines PA, released the following statement:
“We are encouraged that there is finally a preliminary Congressional map for the people of Pennsylvania to review,” said David Thornburgh, Chair of Draw the Lines PA and President and CEO of the Committee of 70. “Now, Draw the Lines will begin to review the House State Government Committee preliminary map based on the work of our citizen mapmakers.”
“This map is one piece of the puzzle, but not the last. It is important for the Senate to provide a preliminary Congressional map,” said Thornburgh. “In addition, we encourage the House State Government Committee to publish a narrative for the map to explain the drawing decisions and provide more insight for the public. They should explain why every district is the way it is. It is difficult to make sense of the choices made on the map without an accompanying narrative. Our Citizens’ Map did just that, providing a thorough narrative explaining the choices our mappers made. The General Assembly should do the same.”
“We also would like the legislature to allow more opportunities for the public to comment on the preliminary map. It is one thing to make a map public, it is another thing to take action based on public input.”
“While we would have liked to have a preliminary map released earlier, we are hopeful that this process will allow enough time for citizen input before the deadline of January 24, 2022 for new maps to be in place,” said Thornburgh.
“We are proud of the work of Draw the Lines PA along with the thousands of mapmakers and advocates to demand a higher standard of transparency and fairness during the redistricting process,” said Thornburgh. “We thank the House State Government Committee for recognizing the work of Amanda Holt. Amanda was a judge for the Draw the Lines mapmaking competitions and a Draw the Lines PA steering committee member.”
“It is good news that a citizen made the preliminary Congressional map,” said Thornburgh. “Now we want to make sure that the 7,200 mapmakers who have contributed to the Draw the Lines PA mapmaking process have the opportunity to provide feedback. Our mappers want to see a balanced map that is compact, competitive, and keeps communities together. There is still a lot of work to do to make sure Pennsylvania has fair maps, but the work of advocates and citizens has made the process better and more transparent.”
In September, Draw the Lines PA released the Pennsylvania Citizens’ Map, a proposed map of 17 congressional districts that reflects the work of more than 7,200 Pennsylvanians who have already drawn 1,500 congressional maps through competitions held since 2018. The 7,200 citizen mappers come from 40 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties, representing almost 90% of the population. Mappers range from a 14-year-old State College High School student to college students from institutions across the Commonwealth, to senior citizens.
About Draw the Lines PA: Draw the Lines PA is an educational initiative that aims to “slay the gerrymander” in Pennsylvania. The project provides teaching resources, digital tools, and data to everyday Pennsylvanians, so they can draw their own election maps. Since 2018, over 7,200 Pennsylvanians have used those tools to attempt to draw their own election maps, and many have entered those maps in Draw the Lines’ twice-yearly public competitions. Draw the Lines is a project from the nonpartisan nonprofit Committee of Seventy, Pennsylvania’s oldest good government group.
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