League of Women Voters sues to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A group of voters is challenging the way congressional voting districts are drawn along party lines in Pennsylvania.

Their challenge begins with a lawsuit that includes the governor and general assembly.

While gerrymandered districts may be drawn along party lines, a group of voters is suing with the hope of erasing the decision making power of one party over another.

A group of Pennsylvania voters, lead by the League of Women Voters, wants to stop whichever political party is in charge from drawing an unfair advantage.

public interest law center attorney Ben Geffen said "the map that's in effect right now, that establishes the district's for elections for the U.S. House of Representatives is one of the most egregious partisan gerrymanders in the country."

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, along with voters from the state's 18 congressional district are taking action.

"In filing a landmark lawsuit in Pennsylvania's commonwealth court against unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering of Pennsylvania congressional districts,"' Geffen said.

In Pennsylvania, those maps often look more like ink blots than a congressional district.

Delaware County voter Mary Elizabeth Lawn said "some people have described it as looking like goofy kicking Donald Duck. Well, I am in goofy's thumb. I joined this lawsuit because my vote and the votes of my neighbors have been diluted by the current map."

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer senior Counsel, David Gersch said "there may have been a time when the map makers might have felt constrained by some sense of decorum or some notion that maybe they shouldn't look to obvious that is out the window, this is as raw partisanship as you could possibly imagine."

Gerrymandered districts may divide people along party lines, but the voters have a plan that could bring both democrats and republicans together.

League of Women Voters in Pennsylvania president Susan Carty said "a state constitutional amendment to appoint a non-partisan independent commission to draw congressional district lines."

"This is a non-partisan lawsuit. While in Pennsylvania, the current map was created by republicans, democrats in other states have caused the same problems," Geffen said.

"The 2011 map as you saw was created without public participation, without transparency, or without accountability," Carty said.

The group named the governor, the general assembly, and other state officials in its lawsuit.

Although they personally are not responsible for signing off on the current maps from 2011, whoever holds the positions of governor, secretary or leaders of the general assembly would be responsible for implementing the 2021 maps following the 2020 census.

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