Applauds Supreme Court’s Redistricting Decision

Following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s vote and subsequent Opinion in kicking back the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Plan, state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, Democratic Whip and chair of the Senate’s State Government Committee, today reiterated his call for fairness in the redistricting process.

“The Supreme Court’s historic decision reaffirmed the sense of fairness in the redistricting process,” said Williams. The Supreme Court ensured that the Constitution’s premise of one person – one vote, the basis of our democracy – is the norm, not the exception, in Pennsylvania.”

The Senate Democratic Caucus was among many individuals who filed suit against the proposed plan to ensure that every Pennsylvania resident’s vote has equal power. The state Constitution dictates that districts must be as even and compact as possible and political subdivisions should be split only when absolutely necessary.

“The residents of Pennsylvania are tired of being political pawns. The delay in adopting a final plan and its blatant disregard for constitutionality are utterly unacceptable.”

The delay in adopting final legislative districts has some legislators proposing to complicate the electoral process by holding two Primary elections this year; the first as scheduled on April 24 when voters will choose a nominee for President, members of Congress and state row offices. The proposal would move state legislative elections until after new maps are adopted.

“At a time when we should be fiscally conservative, scheduling two elections, or even rescheduling both elections is irresponsible,” said Williams. “The Court opined that the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s (LRC) delay in adopting the new district maps created this situation and state legislators should run for office based upon current district boundaries. The citizens of Pennsylvania should not bear the costs of a second election.”

The LRC must create a new plan. Current districts, reapportioned following the 2001 Census, will remain until a new plan is adopted.

“The Court has spoken. As we go back to the drawing board, I call on my colleagues to implement a timely redistricting plan that respects communities and an election schedule that does not financially harm the citizens of Pennsylvania,” said Williams.

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