LRC Preliminary Maps: First Look

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The Legislative Reapportionment Commission unveiled preliminary maps for Pennsylvania Senate and House districts on December 16.

One month earlier, I presented draft State Senate and House maps to the LRC for consideration as they prepared the preliminary maps. How do the metrics compare between the draft example maps I submitted and the one proposed by the LRC?

State Senate Plan

Metric Draft Holt Example Preliminary LRC Plan Standard and Definition
SPLITS Lower is better.
Overall Discretionary Splits 7 34 The number of places divided.
Overall Discretionary Total Splits 9 42 The number of times places are divided.
POPULATION Not above 10%
Overall Deviation 9.84% 9.59% The difference between the largest and smallest district.
Average Deviation 2.18% 2.94% The average difference between each district and the ideal population.
COMPACTNESS
Reock 0.3895 0.3669 Measures how dispersed district shapes are.
Polsby-Popper 0.3521 0.3312 Measures how indented district shapes are.
VOTING RIGHTS ACT
Majority-Minority 4 4 Required by VRA. Voting age population of one minority group is 50%+1 of district.
Minority Coalition 1 1 Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is 50%+1 of district.

Links to example map: Dave’s Redistricting App / District Builder. Note that these links include technical corrections to map (such as transcription errors and adjustments to make sure the majority-minority districts met the VRA standard with LRC data).

State House Plan

Metric Draft Holt Example Preliminary LRC Plan Standard and Definition
SPLITS Lower is better.
Overall Discretionary Splits 34 154 The number of places divided.
Overall Discretionary Total Splits 47 190 The number of times places are divided.
POPULATION Not above 10%
Overall Deviation 9.68% 9.29% The difference between the largest and smallest district.
Average Deviation 1.96% 2.00% The average difference between each district and the ideal population.
COMPACTNESS
Reock .3866 .3844 Measures how dispersed district shapes are.
Polsby-Popper .3540 .3471 Measures how indented district shapes are.
VOTING RIGHTS ACT
Majority-Minority 18 12 Required by VRA. Voting age population of one minority group is 50%+1 of district.
Minority Coalition 9 13 Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is 50%+1 of district.

Links to example map: Dave’s Redistricting App / District Builder. Note that these links include technical corrections to map (such as transcription errors and adjustments to make sure the majority-minority districts met the VRA standard with LRC data).

 

On the surface, over 70% of the discretionary splits in each preliminary map appear unnecessary to meet constitutional and federal legal requirements. Based on the metrics, the additional splits were not absolutely necessary to create districts which are compact, contiguous, of equal population, and that comply with the Voting Rights Act.

If left unaddressed, unnecessary splits will weaken the voice of millions of Pennsylvania residents on the issues they care about the most.

While the public continues to review the preliminary maps, it would be helpful the Legislative Reapportionment Commission might provide additional insight as to why they believe the proposed divisions to the places we live are absolutely necessary.

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