WENY News - Group Seeks End to Gerrymandering State Legislative Districts

Group Seeks End to Gerrymandering State Legislative Districts

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KRISTINA PAPA

LOCK HAVEN, PA -- An effort to stamp out gerrymandering in Pennsylvania politics is gathering steam in central Pennsylvania.

A group rallied to show how the process can be fixed and group members say they're finding renewed support.

The group called Fair Districts PA and its goal is to end what is known as gerrymandering in politics.

Group members they have reached a milestone because for the first time every single community in one county is on board with the effort.

That county is Clinton County and group members marked the occasion Thursday in Lock Haven.

Almost a year ago, Rose Reeder started searching for support to change Pennsylvania's redistricting rules.

"People looked at me like I was crazy. They said, '29 municipalities? We have Republicans and Democrats. You'll never do it,'" Reeder recalled.

But she did and the group celebrated on the steps of the Clinton County Courthouse.

"Gerrymandering is the partisans drawing of lines to keep your party in power," group member Jamie Mogil explained.

Every 10 years when the census is renewed, electoral district lines can be moved. According to Fair Districts, the party in control at the time is able to establish a political advantage by manipulating the district boundaries.

"They look for purchasing things. They look for community leanings and then they decide, 'oh, there are lot of Democrats here or a lot of Republicans here. Let's take some from here and put it there with the map,'" said Reeder.

By mapping out districts based on research, Reeder says politicians can help keep their party in power.

"Due to gerrymandering, your vote is predetermined and in some places, it is simply diluted and doesn't matter," said Mogil.

"When you split up a community like a Thanksgiving pie, that community loses its voice," Reeder added.

Members of Fair Districts are hoping to pass a bill to change this. To do that they'll need community support.

"What we want to do is get politics out of redistricting," Reeder said. "We will have an independent citizens commission to draw the map after the census."

"They shouldn't be choosing us," said Mogil. "We should be choosing them as voters."

Fair Districts PA is under a time crunch. The group needs to have the bill passed by July

The best way to help reach out to your local representatives.

WNEP

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