Category Archives: Voting & districts

Governor Wolf and online voter registration

Let’s be clear about priorities: Governor Wolf MUST win reelection in 2018 as he is the chief protector all we believe in at the state level. Below is just one of many reasons. the General Assembly wouldn’t go for online registration but Governor Wolf was able to do it by executive action.

Read more in “Use of online voter registration increasing statewide”

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Gerrymandering Case May Be Most Important Decision SCOTUS Faces

By Sam Levine, Huffington Post, 7/22/17

The upcoming case could dramatically reshape how electoral districts are drawn.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says a case dealing with how far political parties can go to draw election districts to their benefit might be the “most important” the court will hear next term.

Ginsburg made the comments at a Duke Law School event Friday while referring to Gill v. Whitford, a case in which plaintiffs are challenging Wisconsin’s 2011 map for the state assembly as unconstitutional. A panel of three federal judges ruled 2-1 last year the Republican-drawn map violated the constitution. After the redistricting, Republicans won 48.6 percent of the vote in 2012, but triumphed in 60 of the state’s 99 electoral districts.

The case is significant because the Supreme Court has never set a standard for when a partisan gerrymander is unconstitutional, though it has written critically of them in the past. If the Supreme Court were to uphold the ruling of the lower court, it could dramatically limit the ability of parties to redraw electoral maps to their advantage in the next round of redistricting following the 2020 Census….

keep reading at Huffington Post

Will courts strike a blow against gerrymandering?

Guest column by G. Terry Madonna and Michael L. Young, Daily Local News, 7/16/17

Politics!

Today it’s everywhere or often seems so.

Trump mania pervades news coverage while heated and often testy debates about health care, immigration, criminal justice and trade policy increasingly dominate the national conversation.

Turn on any news program and try to escape it. We are dominated by a growing national obsession with politics.

Nor are state governments immune to our growing national preoccupation with politics and political problems. As states struggle to find new revenues and balance annual budgets, they increasingly move into policy arenas like immigration and climate change previously monopolized by the federal government.

But one place political questions do not prevail – indeed according to legal doctrine cannot prevail – is when the courts consider the problem of reapportionment, the decennial process in which states draw the congressional and state legislative districts to conform to population shifts occurring over the past decade.

Decennial reapportionment has been the law of the land since a landmark Supreme Court case in 1964 (Reynolds v Sims) ruled that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment requires voting districts be as equal in population as possible.

Equal they may now be — but fair they are still not. The problem is “gerrymandering” – the ancient, insidious and so far insoluble practice in American politics of creating voting districts that protect incumbents and immunize the party in power from competitive elections. …

keep reading at Daily Local News