5.7 million people. That’s the approximate number of Pennsylvania’s who find their voices diminished in the final House Plan approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
The final House 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 an alternative plan, it is clear that the divisions in the final House Plan were not made to more closely meet other legal standards. 69% of the discretionary divisions were not absolutely necessary. This leaves nearly 44% of Pennsylvania’s population in counties, places, and wards with weakened representation in Harrisburg.
|Metric||Holt House Plan 1||Final LRC House Plan||Standard and Definition|
|SPLITS||Lower is better.|
|Overall Discretionary Splits||44||143||The number of places divided.|
|Overall Discretionary Total Splits||56||182||The number of times places are divided.|
|POPULATION||Not above 10%|
|Overall Deviation||8.63%||8.65%||The difference between the largest and smallest district.|
|Average Deviation||2.08%||2.07%||The average difference between each district and the ideal population.|
|Reock||.3870||.3885||Measures how dispersed district shapes are.|
|Polsby-Popper||.3487||.3481||Measures how indented district shapes are.|
|VOTING RIGHTS ACT|
|Majority-Minority||18||12||Required by VRA. Voting age population of one minority group is typically at least 50%+1 of district.|
|Minority Coalition||10||13||Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is typically at least 50%+1 of district.|
|Minority Influence||15||18||Not required. Voting age population of two or more minority groups is less than 50%+1 of district but at least 37%|
It is clear that, at times, the House Plan subordinated Constitutional law to other factors. Members of the Commission even acknowledged this during the final meeting.
In the face of a challenge, one question the Courts must address is whether or not the failure of the LRC to prioritize the Constitution over other considerations was egregious enough to overturn the Plan. Are over 100 infractions against the Constitution too many?