HARRISBURG — On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order to ensure future elections are fair.
The order created the Pennsylvania Redistricting Advisory Council, a panel of six redistricting experts who will provide guidance to the governor and assist in the review of the congressional redistricting plan.
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“We must bring more fairness and transparency to the redistricting process, so every Pennsylvanian is assured their voice is heard,” Gov. Wolf said. “I have long believed that gerrymandering is wrong, and politicians should not use the redistricting process to choose their own voters. Our commonwealth and our nation were founded on the ideals that voters freely select their own elected leaders.”
Executive Order 2021-05 creates this council to review processes in other states that reduce gerrymandering, develop factors to determine if a plan improves the integrity and fairness, and prevents the dilution of a person’s vote. The council will also offer recommendations to ensure that districts are compact and share a common border to keep communities together and ensure people are proportionally represented.
“The decisions that are made through the drawing of new district boundaries will affect every person and community in Pennsylvania for the next decade. It is one of my most important acts as governor and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. That is why I have tasked this advisory council with listening to the people of Pennsylvania and providing their expert advice so that I can better evaluate the maps in the best interest of all Pennsylvanians.”
The council members have expertise in redistricting, political science and mapmaking:
- Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Ph.D. J.D., professor of law, Drexel University
- Lee Ann Banaszak, PhD., political scientist, Penn State University
- Beth Campbell Ph.D., mathematician, Gettysburg College
- Christopher S. Fowler, PhD., geographer, Penn State University
- John J. Kennedy, Ph.D., political scientist, West Chester University
- Sozi Tulante, J.D., former Philadelphia City Solicitor
The council will engage the public, redistricting experts, and other stakeholders to make holistic recommendations and emphasize integrity and fairness when drawing boundaries for Pennsylvania’s congressional map.
In order to provide direct opportunities for the public weigh in and have their voices heard, the Wolf Administration also opened a new redistricting website at which members of the public can submit proposed district maps, outline communities of interest for special consideration in the process and submit comments to be considered by the governor and Redistricting Advisory Council.
“As this critically important process kicks off in Pennsylvania, we want to hear from you,” Gov. Wolf said. “Your vote and your voice matter. So please, take some time to share your thoughts with us.”