Harrisburg – February 15, 2018 – Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) released the following statement concerning the submission of a congressional redistricting plan to the state Supreme Court.
Senate Democrats submitted the plan following the court’s ruling that declared the 2011 maps unconstitutional. The Supreme Court gave the General Assembly until Feb. 9 to present a constitutional plan to the governor. Instead, Republican leaders submitted their own plan to the governor.
Costa’s statement follows:
“Senate Democrats submitted an excellent congressional redistricting plan to the court today. It meets the key elements of constitutionality identified by the court. The plan includes far less municipal splits than the Republican submission or the 2011 plan, adheres to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act and eliminates voter confusion by not moving any incumbent member of Congress who is seeking re-election this year or anyone who is involved in a special election.
“The previous map that was thrown out by the court was a jumbled mess that made no sense to the voters and was generally thought to be the worst congressional gerrymander in the country. The map Senate Democrats sent to the court today rectifies the many problems that were identified by the court and independent observers and is far superior to the map submitted by Republican leadership.”
Highlights of the Senate Democratic map:
- The map produced by Senate Democrats contains far fewer subdivision spits than either the Senate Republican submission or the 2011 plan.
- The 2011 map contained 172 splits, while the Senate Republicans’ contained 62 splits of counties, municipalities, wards and precincts. The Senate Democratic map includes only 55 splits.
- The Senate Democratic map’s districts are nearly equal in population and satisfies the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- The map retains a nearly identical composition of African-American and Latino populations in Pennsylvania’s 1st District while the 2nd District keeps the percentage of African-American voters relative to the 2011 plan constant.
- The Senate Democratic plan is far better than other plans on the measures of compactness identified by the court.
- In order to prevent voter confusion in this election cycle, the plan does not move any incumbent member of Congress who is seeking re-election.