redistricting

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.”