Over the Line?

Ashley Oleson, with the League of Women Voters of Maryland, carries signs of the state's districts, before oral arguments in Benisek v. Lamon in front of the Supreme Court, Wednesday, March 28, 2018.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to make a defining decision on extreme partisan gerrymandering this term. It took up two cases, one from Wisconsin, and the other from Maryland. But, in unanimous decisions, the court avoided the key constitutional question at stake in these cases: How much politics is too much when determining voting districts?

Instead, it ruled on technicalities.

Advocates for fair districting
Katie Meyer / WITF

In most states, the legislature is in charge of designing congressional and state voting districts.

Pennsylvania isn’t unique in that respect.

But some say the commonwealth is home to some of the nation’s starkest examples of gerrymandering — where the shape of a voting district is manipulated to produce the outcome desired by the party in charge.

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

What’s it feel like to live along the border of one of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the U.S.?

Just ask Bonnie Marcus and Bill Van Wie, who live at Kendall Crosslands, a picturesque retirement community in Chester County.

“Have you seen what we look like? We’re a joke,” said Marcus, a Democratic poll worker who gathered a group of neighbors at the community center to talk gerrymandering.

“I don’t think there’s a way they can make it worse,” Van Wie chimed in.