Pa. redistricting panel votes to end prison gerrymandering

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — From having an unfair advantage over its opponent,s a redistricting panel voted to end prison gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

Basically, this counts prisoners where they used to live instead of counting them where they’re in prison.

This gives more political power to their home districts and takes it away from districts where the prisons are located.

This came as a 3 – 2 vote from the Legislative Reapportionment Commission Tuesday.

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“Prisoners look to representatives of their home districts for vital constitutes services my fellow caucus members and their district offices, they deal with this reality each and every day,” Representative Joanna McClinton (D-Delaware, Philadelphia) said.

This vote means when the commission redraws our political maps prisoners will be counted where their home address is. Democrats say that will make the districts fairer, but Republicans argue that it’s inconsistent and unconstitutional.

“If you are in a facility, and if there’s a prisoner in a facility for 10 years or more, that they are excluded from being moved back to where they have lived in the past because that covers the 10-year census,” Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R) said.

Republicans also say more details need to be discussed and more time is needed.

“The specifics in this proposal remain a work in progress and frankly I don’t believe it is ready to be worked on today,” House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R) said.

Common Cause Pennsylvania Director Khalif Ali says this is a huge step in the representation of incarcerated persons.

“We want to be able to move forward and advance this idea of reallocation as best we can considering the circumstances in considering the infrastructure in place,” Ali said.

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