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Redistricting crisis

September 16, 2017 Letters to the Editor

The Eagle’s Sept. 14 editorial (“Can redistricting reform solve our budget crisis?”) hits the nail on the head. Today’s hyperpartisanship, both in and out of government, is a root cause of many of today’s social ills, and Pennsylvania’s perennial budget crises are a clear example of its effect.

We like to think of democracy as a process by which voters select their politicians. But — and PAR is correct that BOTH parties are guilty — thanks to gerrymandering, what we actually have has simply devolved into a process whereby politicians in power select their voters.

We can see the result most vividly in Pennsylvania’s endless budget stalemates, in which Republicans can create crisis after crisis without having to worry about re-election, thanks to cynically rigged, inefficient, counter-productive drawing of voting district boundaries. Without a constitutional amendment to do away with gerrymandering, there can be no fix to such problems.

Simply letting the politicians in power continue to play with voting boundaries will not fix these problems. There must be an impartial, transparent, non-partisan, accountable process for creating and maintaining fair and sensible voting districts that benefit our citizens, and doesn’t perpetuate the kind of irresponsible partisanship that we see in today’s Pennsylvania legislature. There is a bill in the State House (HB 722) that is a first step toward establishing an independent redistricting commission. But it is being held up in committee and prevented from moving to debate and vote on the house floor by the most hyperpartisan member of the legislature: career politician Daryl Metcalfe.

To learn more about what you can do to move toward a lasting solution, visit www.FairDistrictsPA.com.