[DISCLAIMER: this post was a required assignment for my Advanced Tools for Newswriting Course.]
And if you live and Pennsylvania and don’t know what this is…
You better learn.
1) Gerrymandering is unfairly dividing congressional districts and it used to make it easier for political candidates of certain parties to get elected.
2) Districts are drawn every 10 years after the US Census. (Okay?)
3) In Pennsylvania, the US Senators and and Representatives draw the districts. (Ah…)
4) This isn’t the first time that Pennsylvania has been accused of gerrymandering. Here are all the ways the state has been gerrymandered since 2011.
5) The districts drawn are for US Congress Members, which Pennsylvania has 18 of.
13 Republican. 5 Democrats.
6) HOWEVER, Pennsylvania has more registered Democrats than Republicans and usually splits elections among the parties, so “many people point to imbalance of Congressional seats for Republicans as a sign of unfairly gerrymandered districts.”
7) Late this past January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts must be redrawn because they were presented to be favoring the Republican party. (See #4)
8) In US history, it had been extremely rare for any court to rule that a state’s Congressional map has been unfairly gerrymandered.
9) The only other time that a federal court had made a ruling like this was even earlier in January, when North Carolina’s Congressional districts were perceived to be unconstitutional.
10) After the ruling, the judges gave Pennsylvania legislators until Feb. 9th to redraw the Congressional districts.
11) These new districts must be approved by Tom Wolf by Feb. 15th.
12) If the judges aren’t satisfied with the new districts, they’ll hire an outside consultant.
*Information from this article was provided by Mark Dent and Anna Orso from https://www.fairdistrictspa.com/, http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-6015/file-6740.pdf?cb=b74d61, and https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/gerrymander-court-north-carolina-pennsylvania.html.
*gifs from this article were taken from giphy.com