Wednesday February 7, 2018
Independent commission should draw lines.
The Reading Eagle's coverage of the recent state Supreme Court ruling and possible U.S. Supreme Court intervention in gerrymandered redistricting was informative ("U.S. Supreme Court signals it may block Pa. court ruling," Jan. 30). Unfortunately, unless politicians are removed from the process of picking the voters for their districts, nothing will change.
The state Supreme Court struck down the current maps in violation of the state Constitution on the grounds that they were drawn to give one party a majority of seats over another in Congress. That is the definition of gerrymandering, the redrawing of district boundaries to benefit one political party.
Who draws these district lines? Politicians of the party in power after the U.S. census. Either party could hold the majority after the next census is completed in 2020. Taking all politicians out of this process will assure a more equal outcome.
There are bills in the state House (HB 722) and Senate (SB 22) that would create a Citizen Commission to redistrict legislative districts. This proposal would exclude political officials, their families and staff, and political action committee members from serving on the commission. Unfortunately, the Republican committee leadership in both chambers refuses to call for a vote on these bills allowing them to go to the full Legislature for discussion and debate. If the proposal were to be adopted, then all registered voters would be able to vote on the referendum. Real change then might actually happen.
Deborah A. Sieger
Leave politicians out of redistricting