A presentation on “Making Your Vote Count – Redistricting Reform,” will be made at the Perkiomen Valley Library at Schwenksville, 290 Second St., Schwenksville on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 at 6:45 p.m. by Fair Districts PA – Montgomery County leaders.
A second presentation will be made at the Abington Free Library, 1030 Old York Road, Abington, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Rich Rafferty, the Fair Districts PA – Montgomery County Lead, will explain why gerrymandering reform is critically needed in Pennsylvania.
He will also explain why the participation of a motivated citizenry across Pennsylvania is urgently needed in 2019 to change how Congressional and state legislative maps are drawn.
“It’s important to remember”, Rafferty said, “that the 2018 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that forced a redrawing of our 18 Congressional district maps will expire in 2021 and the same Harrisburg legislative leaders will then proceed, as usual, resulting in another 10-year cycle of gerrymandered Congressional and state legislative maps. We need reform legislation to be adopted in 2019,” he said.
American politicians have practiced gerrymandering, the intentional manipulation of election district lines to protect incumbents and secure partisan advantage, for more than 200 years. In a profound distortion of the Democratic process, recent advances in mapping technology and voter data collection have made it possible for those who draw district lines in Pennsylvania to capture voting districts and control election results well before a single vote has been cast.
Politicians have been selecting their voters through mapmaking rather than voters choosing their political leaders at elections, Rafferty said.
Montgomery County, with a population of 826,075 residents, should have 13 state representatives with election districts completely inside the county.
Instead, the 2011 gerrymandered district maps produced 18 state representative districts, of which six (6) state representatives partially represent Montgomery County and an adjoining county such as Berks, Delaware or Chester.
All six Montgomery County Senators also represent another county. The interests of Montgomery County residents cannot be adequately protected in Harrisburg when elected officials have divided county loyalties, the group argues.
Carol Kuniholm, the co-founder and chair of Fair Districts PA, said, “by any measure, Pennsylvania is among the most severely gerrymandered states in the nation. This means diminished choice for all voters.
Fair Districts-PA endorses redistricting reform legislation that puts redistricting control in the hands of an Independent Citizens Commission, operating transparently and with a minimum of personal voter data.
All are welcome to attend these education events to understand the problem, the proposed solutions and how every citizen can help end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.
Area Pennsylvania legislators have also been invited to attend.
The Perkiomen Valley Library at Schwenksville is located at 290 Second St., Schwenksville. The telephone number is 610-287-8360.
The Abington Free Library is located at 1030 Old York Road, Abington. The telephone number is 215-885-5180.