The purpose of this system is to provide a non-partisan and impartial way to meet each redistricting rule. It achieves equal population (as defined by the Supreme Court) with minimal splits to counties, municipalities, etc. (as required by PA Constitution).
The only considerations used are population totals and political subdivisions. The method leaves out the data that causes a more partisan and biased view of redistricting (like the residence of incumbents, prior district boundaries, political affiliation of residents, etc.)
The Steps and Formulas
Step 1: Apportionment by County
- PA Population / Number of Legislators = Target Average District Population
- County Population / Target Average District Population = County Apportionment
Step 2: Create Regions & Verify Population Range
- Group Counties so that apportionment totals equal as close to a whole number as possible without breaking county lines.
- Verify County Groups are of equal population, as practicable (within 10% variant range)
- Population of Grouped County(s) / Number of Apportioned Legislators = Actual District Population
- Actual District Population / PA Population = Actual District Percentage of Population
Step 3: Divide Oversized Regions
- County Groups exceeding one into districts with one legislator
Step 4: Verify compliance with Voting Rights Act
- Preserve existing minority-majority district(s)
- Create new minority-majority district(s), if required.
Step 5: Assign District numbers
- Compare old and new district boundaries. Use the number that has the highest percentage of population living within the new district
- Adjust numbers so that no county has undue influence over a particular election cycle.
Results that Work!
Redistricting often seems plagued by partisan activities and biased decisions. Discussions on this issue often sink into a battle between two political parties. The casualties of this conflict are the people they will represent and the constitution they are to uphold.
Each map featured within this blog proves that the impartial system proposed here offers a non-partisan way to create General Assembly districts. It gives the framework necessary to respect and protect the boundaries of political subdivisions while still adhering to the other applicable laws.
Many consider a redistricting plan to be superior when it achieves equal district sizes while still preserving local political subdivisions. Pennsylvania has an opportunity for greatness. This system offers the General Assembly and Commission a practical way to superior maps.
See it in Action