September 3, 2021
With the long Labor Day weekend approaching and after an unusually busy summer rife with debate and discussion around elections and redistricting, here are a few items and events that caught our eye. We’ll be back with a full newsletter next Friday. Enjoy the holiday!
On our radar
Prison gerrymandering on the wane: The Hill reports that PA joined a growing number of states when the Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted to count prison inmates where they last lived before incarceration (rather than where they’re housed) for state legislative redistricting. CA, CO, CT, DE, NV and VA are also making the change this cycle. Only MD and NY did so after the 2010 Census. The changeover doesn’t affect Congressional redistricting.
An attack on gerrymandering from the right: Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen excoriates Illinois legislators—the first to produce districts from the 2020 Census data—for drawing crooked lines to benefit Democrats. Because both parties take advantage of the process, Henry argues, they should disarm with “nonpartisan entities”—beginning after the 2030 Census.
Yet another GOP election lawsuit: Fourteen Republican state representatives filed a legal challenge to the 2019 PA law that allows no-excuse mail-in voting. Eleven of the lawmakers voted for the bipartisan reform law two years ago, while one opposed and two others weren’t yet in office.
Update needed: The bipartisan National Task Force on Election Crises is urging Congress to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which governs Electoral College procedures. According to The Fulcrum, the law’s language is “arcane and confusing, which leaves room for misuse.” Such disparate voices as The New Republic and the Cato Institute have also called for reform.
My Senator spent that much on that? The PA Senate has begun posting monthly spending reports for each of its 50 members. No word yet on whether the House will follow suit. Here’s the story from Spotlight PA.
Caught our eye
The proposed state House districts above (see full map) put forward by lawmakers in Illinois; and the proposed Senate districts (see full map) are not much better. CBS News has more on the highly gerrymandered Illinois mapping plans.
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