Last Thursday evening, over 150 concerned citizens joined the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action for a forum addressing the issue of legislative redistricting in Pennsylvania. Those is attendance listened to Rep. Babette Josephs, Rep. Josh Shapiro, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and WHYY’s Chris Satullo present their thoughts regarding how voters may advocate for a redistricting process that will reduce gerrymandering and open elective office to new officials committed to political reform. Based upon the interest demonstrated by those in attendance, work in Harrisburg has already begun to address this very important issue.
In response to having “heard the clarion call from the citizens of our commonwealth about the need to reform the process of mapping legislative districts so that the interests of voters, and not elected officials, are protected to the greatest extent possible,” Rep. Babette Josephs today announced that she will introduce legislation addressing legislative redistricting in Pennsylvania. As was discussed at length during the Philly ADA’s forum, Rep. Josephs will propose a statutory amendment to the current redistricting process. The act, titled the Redistricting Openness and Fairness Act (ROFA), will provide specific redistricting guidelines to Pennsylvania’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission. Significantly, ROFA would require the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to consider the input of the general public, including “citizen plans,” in creating any redistricting plan.
The Philly ADA congratulates Rep. Josephs for taking this important step in reforming what presently is a badly broken system. We look forward to working with her to make sure that Pennsylvania’s politicians are not permitted to disenfranchising another generation of voters.
Based on the success of the forum and the demonstrated interest among Pennsylvanians, the Philly ADA plans to partner with other organizations to host additional forums addressing this issue throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. We will continue to work to raise the profile of this issue and ensure that politicians like Rep. Babette Josephs do right by Pennsylvanians.