redistricting

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

 (Harrisburg) -- Efforts to overhaul the state’s redistricting process are faltering.

Earlier this month, the legislature looked like it might be on track to approve a sweeping plan to establish a citizen’s commission to draw the maps — plus change how Pennsylvania elects judges.

Senator Lisa Boscola asks for support for her redistricting bill before the chamber's Appropriations Committee.
Katie Meyer / WITF

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

However, the compromise measure is expected to undergo significant changes before it heads to the House as soon as next week.

Judy Herschel
Photo provided

Two candidates are running in the Democratic primary in the 12th Congressional district, one of Pennsylvania’s seats in the U.S. House. One of those candidates is Judy Herschel. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talked with Herschel about why she’s running and what she sees as priorities for the next Congress.

WPSU invited all candidates in competitive races for U.S. House seats in the 12th, 13th and 15th Congressional districts for interviews. 

Wade Jodun
Photo provided

Two candidates are on the Democratic primary ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives' 15th Congressional district. One of them is Wade Jodun. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talks with Jodun about why he’s running to represent Pennsylvania and what changes he wants to see in Washington.

WPSU invited all candidates in competitive races for U.S. House seats in the 12th, 13th and 15th Congressional districts for interviews. The deadline for registering to vote in the primary is April 16.

Susan Boser
Photo provided

Two candidates are on the Democratic primary ballot for U.S. House 15th Congressional district. One of them is Susan Boser. WPSU’s Anne Danahy talks with Boser about why she’s running and what she thinks needs to be done to help rural economies.

WPSU invited all candidates in competitive races for U.S. House seats in the 12th, 13th and 15th Congressional districts for interviews. The deadline for registering to vote in the primary is April 16.

Democratic congressional hopeful Laura Quick in between campaign calls on a recent afternoon. Quick is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the new 9th Congressional District.
Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

Democratic congressional hopeful Laura Quick and two campaign staffers recently set up shop for the afternoon inside a Panera Bread not too far from her home in Palmyra, Lebanon County.

They’d popped open their laptops on the table closest to a fireplace going full blast. That warmth would probably be welcome on most February afternoons, but it was an unseasonable 70 degrees outside.

“I asked them to turn it off, but they can’t,” explained Josh Brady, 23, Quick’s unofficial numbers guy.

So they decided to deal with the extra heat.

From left to right: Diego Uribe, Ben Shaman, Jake Richard, and Quinn Berger evalute Pennsylvania's new congressional district map compared to the 2011 version at the Westtown School in West Chester, Pa.
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

In the days after the Pa. Supreme Court released its new congressional map, students in Jon Kimmel’s 8th grade math class huddled around computers to analyze the changes.

The class has been closely following the twists and turns of a case that could have an impact on the balance of power in Washington D.C.

The new Pennsylvania congressional map.
image: PA Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new map for the state’s Congressional districts. That means new boundaries for U.S. House districts, including those in central and northern Pennsylvania. WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports that some candidates who were running in the primary are moving ahead, while others say they haven’t decided.

For starters, forget the old numbers for Congressional districts in Pennsylvania. The new map from the state Supreme Court completely shifts those districts around.  

The map of Pennsylvania Congressional districts, released February 19, 2018 by the PA Supreme Court.
PA Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has enacted a new congressional district map that onlookers say is much more favorable to Democrats, replacing one the court overturned and deemed an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander last month.

Teacher Jon Kimmel in his classroom at Westtown School in Chester County, Pa.
Avi Wolfman-Arent / Keystone Crossroads

Viewed from a distance, Westtown School in Chester County, Pennsylvania seems like precisely the place you’d expect a conversation on redistricting and gerrymandering. The Quaker private school sits at the juncture of two especially contorted congressional districts — the 6th and 7th — and counts among its core values “peace and justice in community and in the world.”

In this Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Harrisburg, Pa.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf has rejected a Republican-drawn congressional map designed to replace the one the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional late last month. 

The Democratic administration says the map is still too partisan--though House and Senate Republicans maintain it follows the court's order exactly. 

A map of the 7th congressional district. Gerrymandering has divided the communities of the 7th congressional district in Montgomery and Chester counties. The district incorporates most of Delaware County and portions of Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lanc
Dan Gleiter / PennLive.com

In a full majority opinion released Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the state’s congressional district map deprives voters’ of their right to “free and equal” elections as protected by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Pennsylvania's congressional district map, deemed unconstitutional by the Pa. Supreme Court.
File photo

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has denied the request for a stay on the ruling overturning Pennsylvania’s congressional district map.

Republican lawmakers, who were sued for creating an unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional map, had turned to the nation’s top court after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s split decision in January.

Governor Tom Wolf and residents attending Tuesday's discussion pose for a group photo in the council chamber of the State College Municipal Building.
Min Xian / WPSU

Governor Tom Wolf visited State College on Tuesday to talk with residents about ways to draw a new congressional map for the state.

Joined by about 100 local residents, a panel of Penn State faculty and students and community leaders, Wolf said the goal is to have a fair map.

State College was the first stop as Wolf makes his way across the state to take input from constituents. 

The state supreme court ruled last week that the current map is unconstitutional and gave the legislature until February 9th to deliver a new map to Wolf.

The city of Reading has long felt out of place on the U.S. congressional map.
Keystone Crossroads

Reading Mayor Wally Scott, a Democrat, has decided to focus on things he can change without relying on higher levels of government.

“I don’t have any reason to need them for anything,” he said.

So far his priorities have boiled down to four things: trash, parking, water and police.

Fair District PA volunteer spoke outside Corman's office
Min Xian / WPSU

Fair Districts PA delivered postcards collected from constituents to State Senator Jake Corman’s office in Bellefonte on Thursday, urging the Republican majority leader to to pass legislation to reform the redistricting process in Pennsylvania.

About 25 members and supporters of Fair Districts PA gathered in the parking lot outside Corman’s office with over 500 postcards stapled onto a giant board.

“The districting process in Pennsylvania is rigged and we need to stop that,” said Toby Short, a volunteer for the advocacy group.

  

When you have a question about voting, polling places or legislative districts in Centre County, a good place to start is the Elections Office. So, that’s where I began my quest to find the place in the State College area where three state legislative districts come together.

After rolling out a detailed map, Joyce McKinley, director of elections in Centre County, tries to pinpoint the spot.

“The 81st legislative district. It’s surrounded by the 77th and the 171st. That’s Zurich Road and Knob Hill Road, and this is Circleville Road.”