Pa. redistricting maps still don’t follow Constitution

Harrisburg Patriot-News Editorial Board, 5/3/12

The latest Pennsylvania House and Senate redistricting plans merit a C, which is certainly an improvement over the F they received before. It’s also far from the A grade maps that Pennsylvanians deserve.

The state Constitution gives clear instructions on how redistricting should be done: “Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided in forming either a senatorial or representative district.”

The key words are “unless absolutely necessary.” The state Supreme Court struck down the earlier maps because they cut up the state like Edward Scissorhands or Picasso might. Even the court felt the need to point out that districts that look like a “crooked finger,” “wishbone” and “iron cross” are clearly not necessary.

[click here for maps]: 2012 proposed maps

The revised maps tame the extremes, but they still include far more slices and crooked lines than necessary.

“I can only conclude the revised plan … needlessly sacrifices the Constitution on the altar of incumbent protection,” said Amanda Holt on Wednesday. Holt is the piano teacher from Allentown who was the driving force behind the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the prior proposals. …

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