Nearly 5 million people. That’s the number of Pennsylvania’s who find their voices diminished in the final Senate Plan approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
The final Senate Plan appears to compromise Pennsylvania’s Constitution in favor of other considerations. A plan that balances legal considerations will minimize divisions while respecting minorities, creating compact and contiguous districts, and maintaining equal population.
When compared with at least two alternative plans, it is clear that the divisions in the final Senate Plan were not made to more closely meet other legal standards. 75% of the discretionary divisions were not absolutely necessary. This leaves nearly 40% of Pennsylvania’s population in counties, places, and wards with weakened representation in Harrisburg.
|Metric||Holt Senate Plan 1||Holt Senate Plan 2||Final LRC Senate Plan||Standard and Definition|
|SPLITS||Lower is better.|
|Overall Discretionary Splits||3||4||19||The number of places divided.|
|Overall Discretionary Total Splits||8||8||33||The number of times places are divided.|
|POPULATION||Not above 10%|
|Overall Deviation||8.10%||7.99%||8.11%||The difference between the largest and smallest district.|
|Average Deviation||2.08%||2.15%||2.06%||The average difference between each district and the ideal population.|
|Reock||.3930||.3841||.3644||Measures how dispersed district shapes are.|
|Polsby-Popper||.3494||.3443||.3237||Measures how indented district shapes are.|
|VOTING RIGHTS ACT|
|Majority-Minority||4||4||4||Required by VRA. Voting age population of one minority group is typically at least 50%+1 of district.|
|Minority Coalition||1||1||1||Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is typically at least 50%+1 of district.|
|Minority Influence||4||4||4||Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is less than 50%+1 of district but at least 37%|
Links to example maps: Version 1 and Version 2.
This Senate Plan was crafted through political compromise. But at what cost? Who can Pennsylvania residents count on to defend and uphold the Constitution above all other considerations? That is a question that will be answered in the days ahead.