November 29, 2018
Contact: David Thornburgh
President and CEO
Harrisburg, PA – The Committee of Seventy applauds Governor Wolf for the Executive Order he issued today creating the Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission. Furthermore, we are honored that the Governor asked our President and CEO, David Thornburgh to, chair this important group.
Seventy has long supported a more fair and open process for redistricting. Court rulings this year that re-drew the congressional maps have not fixed the flawed process that produced them, and the existing structure for drawing state legislative maps lacks transparency, 21st-century mechanisms for public input or a clear sense of the values by which the maps are drawn.
Although current law grants power to the General Assembly for drawing congressional maps and to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission for state legislative maps, Pennsylvanians clearly want a greater say in how their districts are drawn. Over the last few years, thousands of citizens across the Commonwealth, led by Fair Districts PA, have engaged in spirited conversations and forums on how to make that process more independent and more fair. It’s this same spirit that inspired the Committee of Seventy to launch Draw the Lines PA, an education and engagement campaign and map-drawing competition that gives all Pennsylvanians the information and tools they need to draw valid congressional maps themselves. (The deadline for the first Draw the Lines competition is December 14, 2018.)
In addition, the Commission will have the chance to evaluate redistricting models from other states, including those from five states (Ohio, Colorado, Utah, Michigan, and Missouri) that have enacted reforms just this past year.
The Committee of Seventy thanks Governor Wolf for his leadership on this issue and looks forward to assisting the Commission--a diverse group of public-spirited citizens and leaders from the General Assembly--to insure that the voices of all Pennsylvanians are heard on this issue so fundamental to our democratic process.
To read the official Executive Order and the full list of Commissioners click here.
The Committee of Seventy is a nonpartisan civic leadership organization that advances representative, ethical and effective government in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania through citizen engagement and public policy advocacy.