Sampling the public comments on the PA Citizens' Map

October 21st, 2021

Draw the Lines has been fielding public comments on our Citizens' Map since we released it in Sept. Here's a sample. We expect the General Assembly to do the same and release a draft map for public comment.

We've fielded nearly 100 comments from people across Pennsylvania about the Citizens' Map. 65.9% of respondents have claimed that if they were in the General Assembly they would vote for this map. 

Make sure to leave your comments on the map too - we are sharing them with the General Assembly.

Here is a representative sample of what people liked:

David S., Berks County: "It is concise, contiguous, largely conforms to county/geographical boundaries where possible. This is what our districts SHOULD look like."

Robin C., Crawford County: "It keeps most counties intact. It does not have weird-looking areas that deliberately include/exclude certain voters to give advantage to one party over the other."

K.A., Philadelphia: "I like the fact that the map was created by what is likely a diverse array of citizens, and therefore represents a variety of interests.  Also, a map created by citizens following basic rules doesn't allow politicians to choose their constituents, will which in turn force politicians to represent everyone."

Kris R., Allegheny County: "Compact districts, proportional, minimal splitting, roughly equal populations"

Kerian A., Delaware County: "It seems fair, balanced, and makes sense to the average Pennsylvania citizen. It keeps counties intact as much as possible, doesn't have all the weird twists, turns, and cutouts that so clearly show the gerrymandering only for the purposes of keeping political power, not for fairly representing citizens."

Patricia R., Chester County: "Love the apparent LOOKS like a number of people thought carefully about large areas of the state. Terrific compactness and far more rational than what they gave us last time."


And here are some things people would change about this map:

Jean H., Harrisburg: "What was the rationale behind splitting Dauphin County and putting most of it in with Perry, Juniata, Franklin etc. and the other with Lebanon and Lancaster?  The current District 10 was one of only 5 competitive elections in 2018 and 4 in 2020.  There was a more balanced mix of rural, suburban and urban areas and also of those registered as Rs, Ds and Is.  There was also more shared commerce, interests and issues than what this map reflects. I realize there are trade offs to be made, but to many of us in the South Central and Central PA regions, it appears that those were the sacrificial regions of the state so the eastern and western parts of the state would benefit."

Ian E., Pittsburgh: "It looks like the 'everyday Pennsylvania mapper' either does not know, or does not care about the City of Pittsburgh and/or Western Pennsylvania. I know there is the great instinct to preserve the integrity of county boundaries at all costs but the obsessive focus on preserving county lines, as opposed to the lines of a city where 300,000+ people live, is a little silly. The City of Pittsburgh has more people than 54 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, and a greater population than the 13 least populous counties COMBINED. When creating districts of 700,000+ residents, mappers ought to find a way to keep the City of Pittsburgh intact."

Robert R., Northampton County: "Globally, I would allow greater population differences. It is hypocritical of the federal government to allow enormous differences in district sizes from state to state while insisting on literally no differences within a state. The need to divide counties, cities, and towns that this necessitates is not compensated by meaningful improvement in voter representation... One more point, as a resident of the Lehigh Valley, I don't find the adjoining of Carbon County rather than Monroe (as in the current map) to the 7th district at all compelling."