Supervisors Support Redistricting Effort
The Falls Township Board of Supervisors joined five other Bucks County municipalities and a growing number of municipal governments statewide in supporting the creation of a citizen’s commission to oversee legislative and congressional redistricting.
The Supervisors approved a resolution during Tuesday night’s meeting backing bills under consideration in the House and Senate to assemble an independent citizens redistricting commission to help ensure a fair legislative and congressional redistricting process. Locally, Middletown Township, Lower Makefield Township and Doylestown Borough elected officials have approved similar resolutions with the goal of ridding the state of gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts.
Supervisor Chairman Bob Harvie said officials want the state government to approve an amendment to the Pennsylvania state constitution essentially changing the way legislative districts are drawn. The goal, he said, is to have a legislative and congressional redistricting commission comprised of citizens, not politicians.
“It’s hoped that this would be a fairer way of drawing boundaries so you don’t have people creating seats for themselves,” Harvie said, noting that Bucks County, for instance, has more registered Democrats than Republicans, yet fewer state representatives from the majority party. “The math doesn’t seem to quite work.”
Typically redistricting occurs following the U.S. Census. The next census is in 2020. However, any change in the redistricting process would require amending the state constitution, which is no small feat. The legislature would need to pass a reform bill in two consecutive sessions before moving to a voter referendum in 2020.
“It’s a pretty lengthy process,” Harvie said. “If it takes too much longer you won’t have any of this in place.”
That would mean waiting at least another 10 years – for the U.S. Census in 2030 – to consider redistricting efforts.