The call for an independent redistricting commission in Pennsylvania is picking up steam. Capital Region Council of Governments (CapCOG) – a council of governments that represents 40 Boroughs, Cities and Townships surrounding Harrisburg – passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to end partisan gerrymandering. The CapCOG resolution follows in the footsteps of the Cumberland County, Pittsburgh City Council, and Swarthmore Borough Council resolutions, demanding an end to partisan gerrymandering by way of a constitutional amendment.
Pennsylvania has gained notoriety as one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation and democracy in the state has suffered as a result. One demonstration of the General Assembly’s success in rigging their own elections is that voters in 57% of state legislative districts will see only one major party candidate on the ballot this November. These districts were drawn with such surgical precision that the other major party has decided that fielding a candidate is not worth the trouble.
In the last legislative session, the legislature failed to pass a budget on time, which many observers attributed to partisan gridlock caused by polarization that gerrymandering helps to cause. With the current system in place, voters cannot hold legislators accountable because legislators have selected their constituents rather than the other way around.
The Capital Region Council of Governments (CapCOG) called for an end to gerrymandering, declaring:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CapCOG does hereby support legislative efforts to secure expeditious action of a constitutional amendment that would, among other reforms, assign the decennial task of both legislative redistricting and congressional reapportionment to an independent citizens redistricting commission.
CapCOG is one of the largest COGs in Pennsylvania, serving over 355,000 residents.
Issues: Voting and Elections