You may have heard by now about our landmark lawsuit challenging the unconstitutional, partisan gerrymandering of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and voters from across the state. In partnership with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP we seek to stop the grossly unfair process by which one party draws the lines for Congressional districts so as to permanently lock in its own majority.
The facts are stark. In 2011, the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania legislature drew a map that abandoned all pretense of tying to be “compact and contiguous” and instead created districts that packed Democrats together or scattered them through heavily Republican areas. As a result, Democrats won 45% and 46% of the statewide vote during the last two national elections but took only 28%, or five out of 18, of the Congressional seats. This is not a partisan problem: in other states, it is the Democrats who use the same techniques to squeeze out any competition. And a system that generates cynicism and locks in politicians who don’t need to listen benefits no one.
We estimate it will cost us $90,000 over the next two years to prepare this case and take it to trial; we’ve already raised $45,000. There is much work to be done: interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, filing legal briefs, and preparing for and bringing the case to trial. Win or lose, there will almost certainly be a trial.
When you make a donation in support of this lawsuit, you will help put pressure on state lawmakers to amend the state’s constitution to create an independent commission and stop future gerrymanders. A victory in the case could result in a court order to legislators to create a new map in time for the 2020 election. And you’ll be showing support for our individual petitioners like Mary Beth Lawn, a chaplain at a retirement community who lives in the seventh congressional district. Mary Beth and fellow Democrats in her neighborhood were specifically targeted and moved in the creation of the new map so that their votes would count less.
“My district looks like cartoon characters fighting and is spread out over five counties. I joined this lawsuit because my vote, and the votes of my neighbors, have been diluted by the current map and I believe we deserve more accurate representation.”
With your gift, you can improve elections in Pennsylvania. You can help us ensure that individual voters can elect the people they want to represent them, instead of politicians making those choices.
We believe in this work. We hope you do, too.