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.