Maps. So Many Maps.

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania asked for congressional map proposals to be submitted Tuesday in a redistricting lawsuit. 

As always, be careful what you ask for.

Two lawsuits targeting the current map — one from a group of residents who live in population-dense areas, the other from mathematicians and scientists seeking a “data-driven” process — were filed in Commonwealth Court in December.

The suits, since merged into one, argue that the courts should intervene in the process and ban the state from using the current map for the 2022 election.

In late December, Commonwealth Court gave Wolf and the legislature until Jan. 30 to enact a plan, while it asked interested parties to submit proposals. Should they fail, the court will begin considering submitted maps the following day.

The parties who brought the suit have also asked the state Supreme Court to immediately take over the case. The court could issue a ruling on the request at any time or decline to respond to it.

Below is the current map, the General Assembly map, and 14 other options that the Court could consider for the winning proposal if no map is finalized by Sunday, January 30. Credit to Dave’s Redistricting for the maps and the competitive balance information.

Current Map

Map Approved by General Assembly

Governor Wolf map

Six districts lean Republican, seven lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Carter et al. plaintiffs, represented by Marc Elias and co. (including Ballard Spahr)

Six districts lean Republican, seven lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Concerned Citizens for Democracy, represented by the lawyer who brought the 2018 federal Agre v. Wolf gerrymandering case

Six districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and six fall in the 45–55% competitive range. 

Group of citizen voters who are supported by the PA GOP

Six districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and six fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Draw the Lines PA, a redistricting advocacy project of Philadelphia-based good-government group Committee of Seventy

Six districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and six fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Gressman, plaintiffs are Pennsylvania math and science professors

Seven districts lean Republican, eight lean Democratic, and two fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Group of Pennsylvania Republican voters. They describe themselves as the mirror image of the Democratic voters who brought the case

Six districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and six fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

House Democrats 

Six districts lean Republican, eight lean Democratic, and three fall in the 45–55% competitive range. 

Submitted by Khalif Ali, head of Common Cause PA. They’re represented by the Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, which brought the successful 2018 League of Women Voters gerrymandering case

Six districts lean Republican, six lean Democratic, and five fall in the 45–55% competitive range. 

Republican Legislative Leaders 

Seven districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and five fall in the 45–55% competitive range

Submitted by U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) and some former Republican representatives, including Ryan Costello – 1

Eight districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range. 

Submitted by U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) and some former Republican representatives, including Ryan Costello – 2

Eight districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Senate Democrats map 1

Six districts lean Republican, seven lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

Senate Democrats map 2

Six districts lean Republican, seven lean Democratic, and four fall in the 45–55% competitive range.

4 Responses

  1. I predict that Judge McCullough will choose explicitly to defer to the Legislature (notwithstanding the Governor’s veto) and pick the plan adopted by the General Assembly. Perhaps she will cite the so-called “independent legislature” clause as a principal reason to defer to the Legislature.

  2. I think it’s pretty clear that the two Republican maps from Reschenthaler that are:
    “Eight districts lean Republican, five lean Democratic”

    are outliers that demonstrate the very gerrymandering that fair-minded people want to eliminate from our politics. They are non-starters in a field with fair maps to choose from.

    I agree that the Science and Math professors map looks pretty good (it seems compact, with less county splitting.

    The difference between the D’s and R’s should be 0 or 1 district.

    The Common Cause PA maps seems competitive, though a little less compact.

    The second Senate map has a TERRIBLE 5th congressional district. It also seems to have a coloring mistake for the 14th when compared to the green area in western PA for the 14th.

    There are some other decent maps like Draw the Lines PA.

    Wolf’s map is even reasonably fair/compact, though I’m sure there’s some subtle gerrymandering I’m not picking up on.

    I’d have to say that there are 3-6 maps that seem fair an non-partisan.

    I’d be okay with picking the top 6 and using a dice roll to choose, if it came to that. However, I think a careful study can knock it down to the 3 best, which are probably equivalent.

  3. Like the Public Interest Law Center’s Map or Good Government Map. R’s would have Erie and Pottsville in the same Congressional District if they could make it happen.

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