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Redistricting in Pennsylvania

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Constitution the state legislature every ten (10) years redraws the legislative districts to confirm the changing demographics. When this occurs there's always concern that the party in power will redistrict in a way that favors their side. This concern is not new. 

The_Gerry-Mander_Edit.pngWay back in March of 1812, a political cartoon depicted a State Senate District in Essex County, Massachusetts. At the time, the Governor of Massachusetts was named Elbridge Gerry. His party, the Democratic-Republican Party was in power and the minority party was the Federalists. The legislature in Massachusetts redrew a district that was said to look like a salamander. Salamander was married to the governor's last name hence the word, Gerrymander, was born.

Today, in the process of setting up electoral districts, Gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish an advantage to a party, the party setting up the new district, by allowing the boundaries to create a partisan advantage. When a majority party is redistricting in order to gain disproportionate power, Gerrymandering has negative connotations.

Gerrymandering is also used to achieve a particular demographic, such as a political, ethic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group. Pennsylvania politicians have been accused for many decades of attempting to manipulate political districts in order to protect incumbent's and gain political advantage. Of course the down side of this is that these "safe" districts do not always receive the attention and financing that districts that arc more evenly balanced politically receive. Consequently, the citizens in these Gerrymandered or safe districts often suffer as the infrastructure tends to become obsolete and decays. An educated and enlightened electorate, shining a light on these practices, helps disinfect the process and creates a more open government, less likely to be able to achieve dominance by merely redrawing political districts. 

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law