Editor, Gettysburg Times,
On Election Day, I had the pleasure of representing Fair Districts PA at the Gettysburg Areas Schools Administration Building poll to talk with my neighbors about the need to end gerrymandering. I collected 76 signatures over about seven hours and had many encouraging conversations. Most encouraging is that 9 out of 10 voters with whom I spoke were pleased and some even eager to sign the FDPA petition. Only a few weren’t familiar with the problem. A typical reaction as soon as I introduced myself was “Is this is about gerrymandering? Well, I want to sign that petition!”
Even more encouraging was some 400 other FDPA volunteers at more than 100 polling places across the state. They secured more than 8000 new signatures for our growing (50,000+) petition supporting an independent citizens commission to draw our electoral districts following the 2020 census. By the way, some folks are under the impression that the PA Supreme Court action last year solved the problem, but that was a one-time fix and was divisive, expensive, and inefficient. After the 2020 census, it’s back to the same old ballgame. If no change is made in the law, you can be sure of renewed efforts to contort our electoral lines for partisan advantage.
The US is the only democracy in the world that allows its elected officials to draw their own electoral maps. PA has the dubious distinction of being among the worst gerrymandering states in the US. Other states have enacted the reform FDPA is advocating. It began in California with Ronald Reagan’s energetic leadership in 1991.
Legislation to end gerrymandering is now in the PA House (HB 22 and HB 23). Each bill has strong bi-partisan support, but there is opposition to this much-needed reform. If you believe it is way past time for PA voters to pick their politicians rather than the other way around, let your voice be heard. Call, write, or visit with your elected state representative and senator to tell them that you want to see an end to gerrymandering in PA. It is an affront to our basic democratic values.