Common Cause Pennsylvania Urges Fair, Transparent Redistricting Process Centered on ‘We the People’
Recommendations include ‘A final legislative district map shall not, when considered on a Statewide basis, unduly favor or disfavor any political party, candidate, or incumbent.’
The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission meets at 2pm today, August 3, 2021.
Watch the livestream here.
Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director Khalif Ali is one of four witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing. The grassroots group has more than 35,000 members and supporters in Pennsylvania.
“Common Cause PA has long been an advocate for a redistricting process that prioritizes transparency, builds public trust in democracy, and respects the autonomy of communities,” Ali will testify. “We believe that redistricting should be fair, accessible, and politically neutral. Most importantly, we believe that to be successful, a redistricting process must intentionally seek to ensure that every Pennsylvanian, regardless of zip code, race, ethnicity, first language, or profession has an equal opportunity to elect a representative that shares their values and lived experience.”
Ali will urge the Commission to:
- conduct extensive intentional outreach/education efforts
“Additionally, we recommend that the legislature spend at least some portion of its funds appropriated for the redistricting process to purchase paid targeted advertising, ideally in multiple languages, to help reach those Pennsylvanians who have historically been left out of the redistricting conversation.”
- provide accessible opportunities for meaningful public input
“The hearings should be held both in-person and virtually at different times during the week—some during evenings and weekends—to enable engagement and participation from as many residents as possible.”
- prioritize communities of interest as the building blocks of the map
“For too long, redistricting has been conducted as a political game with partisan winners and losers. While it is undeniable that there are direct political impacts from redistricting, focusing on communities – not just municipal boundaries – is an important part of ensuring that We the People are at the center of the process.”
- establish clear additional mapping criteria in order of priority
“As you consider which criteria to establish, we strongly encourage you to adopt the below criteria: …Districts shall respect the integrity of communities of interest to the extent practicable. The term ‘community of interest’ shall not include common relationships with political parties or political candidates. …A final legislative district map shall not, when considered on a Statewide basis, unduly favor or disfavor any political party, candidate, or incumbent. …A district in a final legislative district map shall not dilute or diminish the ability of racial and language minorities to elect candidates of their choice by themselves or in a coalition with others.”
Read Ali’s full testimony here.
Ali will also testify at the Senate State Government Committee hearing on congressional redistricting at 10am tomorrow, Wednesday August 4, 2021.