Redistricting Advocates In Centre County Make Last-Ditch Effort To End Gerrymandering

Jul 12, 2018

Pam and Toby Short with the letter they brought to State Sen. Jake Corman asking him to help pass redistricting reform.
Credit Emily Reddy / WPSU

Redistricting advocates in Centre County are making a last-ditch effort to change how Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts are drawn.

It’s a week past an unofficial deadline to keep redistricting reform on track for 2021. That’s when maps will be redrawn.

But a group from “Fair Districts PA—Centre County” went to Senator Jake Corman’s office in Bellefonte on Thursday to urge him to keep working. The state constitution says the bill must be passed and advertised in newspapers by August 6.

Corman says it’s the House holding things up. The Senate passed a redistricting bill.

“We passed it with a couple of weeks ahead of time in the Senate to give the House a chance to react. They have chosen not to react to it and just to not to take any action on it, which is unfortunate,” Corman said. “But if they were interested in getting something done, we’re open to negotiating a final product that could be done very quickly.”

Toby Short, with Fair Districts, said the bill was moving well until Senator Ryan Aument added an amendment to let voters decide whether to make the election of judges regional instead of statewide.

“At this point Senator Corman is shrugging and saying it’s all the House’s fault, but he was complicit in this failure in attaching and supporting that amendment,” Short said. “He didn’t author it, to be clear. But he definitely supports it, and that poisoned the bill. And now, we’re stuck.”

Corman says the Aument Amendment can be removed if it’s an issue.