Local expert elected to Governor’s Advisory Council on New Parliamentary District – Reading Eagle

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John kennedy

Upper Providence – John Kennedy knows a thing or two about the Parliamentary District of Gerrymandering, including the origin of the word “Gerrymandering”.

Residents of the Township of Upper Providence, professor of political science at West Chester University, Acts of the League of Voters 2018 He abandoned the district created by the Republican Party of Harrisburg in 2011 – including the nationally renowned Seventh Curved District. Like “Goofy Kick Donald Duck”.

His testimony on the district, created in 2011, concluded that “this is a Gerrymandering card designed to disadvantage Democratic voters.”

In that case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed that the 2011 electoral district change following the 2010 census was an “unconstitutional constitutional unconstitutional gerrymander of the state.”

The court created a new, more compact and adjacent district with the Democratic Party’s victory in the 2018 U.S. legislative election. Madeleine Dean, D-4, Krisiflahan, D-6, Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5. – All in regions where democratic voter registration has increased considerably over the past decade.

Kennedy will now play a role in the redistribution of the parliamentary constituency following the 2020 census.

Unlike 2011, when there was a Republican Governor in Pennsylvania who approved a map created by the Republican majority, the currently created map will be approved or rejected by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

Kennedy is one of six selected by Wolff for the new Pennsylvania District Change Advisory Council, “reviewing the parliamentary constituency change plan adopted at the General Assembly later this year. We will provide advice to the governor to support. »Press release of September 13 from the governor’s office.

His specialty is to ensure that the new map “does not divide communities of interest as much as possible”.

Kennedy used his hometown of Lee High Valley to describe “community of interest”. For example, if you go from Allentown to Hershey, but you have a map that excludes Bethlehem and Easton, it splits the community of interest. People say they live in the Lee High Valley. It’s the Lee High Valley Transport Authority, not the Allentown Transport Authority. This is Lee High Valley Airport, not Allentown Airport. Not the Allentown Iron Pig (baseball team), but the Lehigh Valley Iron Pig. “

Communities of interest include counties and municipalities, and congressional district maps should try to avoid dividing them as much as possible, says Kennedy, a BA and MA from Kutztown University. and a doctorate. Said. From Temple University.

The two main tactics used in Gerrymandering are “cracking” (diluting the voting rights of opposition supporters in many districts) and “packing” (opposition parties reducing voting rights in others. districts). Concentrate your voting rights in one district).

Reading Eagle: Susan Keen

Elkanah Tisdale’s original cartoon showing Elbridge Gerry’s “Salamander” appeared on page 1 of the Salem Gazette on Friday, April 2, 1813. Cornell University: Convincing Cartography: PJ Mode Collection, Public Domain,

Gerrymandering is nothing new.

In fact, as the name suggests, it dates back to the early 1800s. It is a combination of the governor who approved the disputed district and animals whose district is similar.

Elbridge Gerry, who died as Vice President of the United States in 1812, was governor of Massachusetts and signed a bill to create a partisan district in the Boston area, which is likened to the shape of the salamander.

The growing political interest in this round of redistribution is the fact that the census has shown that Pennsylvania has lost its population over the past decade. As a result, the number of delegations to the US House of Representatives will be reduced by one, bringing the total to 17 seats.

However, while having high political interests, the public is increasingly aware not only of the importance of changing constituencies, but also of how they can be manipulated to serve political purposes.

Like the Kennedy credit group PA Fair District When PA to draw a line He campaigned against a civilian panel responsible for all of Pennsylvania’s new districts, both state and federal. The constitutional amendment was supposed to derail that change in Harrisburg, but the work made more people aware of what was to come in the next round, he said.

These organizations use computer models to show that voters can easily bring communities together to create meaningful maps, rather than letting voters choose representatives, and vice versa. According to Kennedy, it is about removing an incumbent or a member of the other party from the district.

“Few people noticed this process ten years ago, and there haven’t been any hearings,” Kennedy said. “But what has happened since then has made it clear that this is a significant problem.”

Gerrymandering, in search of partisan advantage, has also helped strengthen political views in Pennsylvania and other countries, Kennedy said. “Currently voters have little elasticity,” he said. “It’s not about convincing voters of your point of view. Now it is about maximizing the vote on your part.

As a result, “a lot on the issue of hot buttons, lean meat to stoke the bases for participating in polls, less discussion of the real issues facing the country, and less merit of compromise.” There is a fight, ”says Kennedy.

Fairer constituencies force politicians to try to win over unengaged voters and are more likely to compromise across the aisle without fear of bipartisan primaries as punishment for “cooperating with the other side “. He said he would.

The panel Kennedy serves aims to do it all.

The other members of the advisory board are Tabatha Abu El-Haj and Ph. DJD, law professors at Drexel University. Lee Ann Banaszak, PhD. , Political scientist at Pennsylvania State University. Beth Campbell Ph.D., mathematician at the University of Gettysburg. Dr Christopher S. Fowler, geographer at Pennsylvania State University, Soji Turante, JD, former City of Philadelphia attorney.

“We have had one meeting so far and more are scheduled,” Kennedy said Tuesday.

According to Wolf’s office, the council specializes in civilian constituency change to make comprehensive recommendations and emphasize completeness and fairness in delineating the Pennsylvania Parliament maps. Involve the household and other stakeholders.

The Wolf administration provided a direct opportunity for the public to participate and hear their voices. New District Reorganization Website Launched Member citizens submit a proposed district map, outlining the communities of interest that they believe should be especially considered in the district restructuring process, and reviewed by the governor and the district restructuring advisory board. . You can submit a comment.

“We want to hear from you because this very important process begins in Pennsylvania,” Wolff said in a press release. “Your vote and your voice are important, so take a moment to share your thoughts with us. “

“I think the process will be much better with more public participation,” Kennedy said.

But Kennedy’s committee has nothing to do with the constituencies that take place in the legislature and the House of Representatives, Kennedy said.

The process complies with the law of creating a five-member panel to draw the line for the new neighborhood. The majority leaders in the House and Senate each appoint a member, and the minority leaders in the House and Senate each appoint a member. This year, they named themselves.

The fifth deciding vote member, who rates every vote of the Democratic and Republican parties, is in the fifth of six re-election cycles, after legislative leaders disagreed on the fifth member. Appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in May. From the committee.

Mark Nordenberg, former Prime Minister of the University of Pittsburgh and former Dean of the Law School at the University of Pittsburgh, was chosen as the fifth member of the jury.

The other member is Kerry Benninghoff, Republican leader of the Center County House of Representatives. Philadelphia Democrat and House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton. Westmoreland County Republican Senate Leader Kim Ward and Allegheny County Senate Democratic Minority Leader Jay Costa.

By law, the Commission redrawn the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s 253 Parliament districts this year, and the governor played no role.

Local expert elected to Governor’s Advisory Council on New Parliamentary District – Reading Eagle

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