Pennsylvania Governor Vetoes New Congressional Maps

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February 13, 2018

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a proposal for new congressional district maps for his state, charging that the legislature had done nothing to address the issue for which the state Supreme Court had voided the existing maps: they were gerrymandering in the extreme.

The Supreme Court had found that the existing maps too heavily favored Republicans at the expense of Democrats, in what the Court said was a clear case of gerrymandering.

The Court gave the legislature a short timeframe for drawing new maps. The legislature met that timeframe and submitted maps that looked different graphically from the previous maps but, analysts found, did not lessen the partisan impact for which the Court had directed that new maps be drawn. In-depth analysis of the political affiliations of registered voters found a nearly identical correlation between projected votes by those living in the new districts and those living in the old districts.

The state's Democrat-Republican breakdown among registered voters is roughly the same, yet Republicans won 12 of the state's 18 congressional seats in the last election.

Any new proposal still needs the approval of the governor, however. Wolf is a Democrat; Republicans hold a majority of the legislature. The deadline for both parties to approve new maps is Feb. 15, after which the state high court will itself draw new maps, consulting both political parties in the process.

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