LRC Final House Maps: First Look

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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.
COMPACTNESS
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%
Total 43 43

 

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?

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Amanda began delving into the subject of redistricting in October of 2010 on her quest to know why. Helped by a love of puzzles, attention to detail, and a great deal of persistence, her efforts eventually led her to a historic victory before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She documents her journey at AmandaE.com, inspiring others through numerous presentations across the state. The recipient of several honors, her work has also been featured in every major Pennsylvania newspaper, making headline news in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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