Check out the new Congressional District Maps for Pennsylvania!

new pa map
 JARED WHALEN
The new congressional map released Monday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, when the politicians in Harrisburg were unable to agree on a new map that adhered to the Court’s ruling, had redistricting expert Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford University law professor, draw the new Congressional District map for Pennsylvania. This is intended to go in effect immediately, and candidates for these districts will be voted on in the spring primary and November election; winners to be sworn in to office in January 2019. On first glance, it looks like all of the Upper Perkiomen Valley may be in the newly drawn 4th District. (If you are not convinced by PhillyNews’ map below, check out PennLive – enlarge the “District 7 becomes District 6 (sort of) map where you can see East Greenville, Pennsburg, Red Hill, and Green Lane in District 4.)

However, bear in mind that Republican legislators are expected to challenge the new map in Federal Court this week.

oldandnewmap
SOURCE: Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania – graphic by PhillyNews staff

Local Districts Under the Supreme Court Plan

Local congressional districts under the old 2011 map drawn by Pennsylvania’s Republican-led legislature split 28 counties into several districts, including Montgomery County, which had parts of the Second, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and 13th Districts. The new map released on Monday by the state Supreme Court, which invalidated the the 2011 map, centers Montgomery County in the Fourth District. Only 13 counties are split in the new plan, and Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties are each entirely within a single district.

Under the court’s redrawn map, districts more closely align with county lines, and only 13 counties are split among two or three districts. By contrast, under the last map, enacted by the legislature in 2011, more than twice as many counties were split among multiple districts.

In striking down that map last month as unconstitutional, the justices said the new districts should be as compact and contiguous as possible. Their new map, they wrote in an order, is “superior or comparable” to proposals submitted by the participants and interested groups during the legal challenge that led to the historic ruling.

Read the rest of the article  Pa. gerrymandering case: State Supreme Court releases new congressional map for 2018 elections by Jonathan Lai & Liz Navratil, STAFF WRITERS

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2018 PA Congressional Districts and Election

This is one of those times when there is too much news, and even more confusion than usual. As of today, a new Pennsylvania congressional district map is due to be available on Monday, February 19, 2018. Since Governor Wolf has rejected the GOP plan, it goes to the state Supreme Court to decide on the map. The Washington Post’s website has an excellent article (with graphics) comparing the different proposed maps, and explaining why neither map would closely represent the Democratic party’s statewide vote share; Here’s how Pennsylvania Democrats’ congressional map proposal stacks up against the current Republican ones. 

If you don’t have time to read the article, here’s an excerpt;

It’s also worth noting that the districts in the Democratic map are just a hair more compact than the latest Republican-drawn districts. Sprawling, un-compact districts are often an indicator that some degree of partisan shenanigans were involved in the boundary drawing. That’s why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated that compactness should be a key criteria in how the new districts are ultimately drawn.

The court is under no obligation to accept either the Democratic or Republican maps. But it is likely to take them under consideration as it works with a third-party redistricting expert, Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University, to draw a final, nonpartisan map. Then, following the 2020 Census, the entire redistricting process will start again.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding district lines, it was necessary to change the dates and deadlines for petitions to get candidates on the primary ballot. Pennsylvania congressional candidates can begin collecting signatures on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – signatures must come from within the new congressional district. Petitions must be notarized and delivered to the county courthouse by Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

The deadline to register to vote in the PA primary election this year is Monday, April 16, 2018. Pennsylvania hold “closed primaries” which means only registered Democrats may vote in the primary for those on the Democratic side of the ballot (and registered Republicans vote for Republicans in the primary). The Pennsylvania primary election is Tuesday, May 15, 2018; polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.