Pennsylvania

State website: Pennsylvania Redistricting
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Pa. Const. art. II, §§ 16-17

The Latest

Congress: On December 20, the state legislature passed SB 1249, which was signed on December 22.

State leg.: On October 31, the politican commission responsible for state legislative redistricting released draft lines for state Senate and House; on December 12, the commission voted 4-1 to approve final lines. On January 25, the state Supreme Court rejected the plan. The Court held that the 2001 plan should govern 2012 elections, and federal court challenges to that holding were rejected.

On June 8, 2012, the politician commission issued final plans for new districts, effective in 2014. Those districts were challenged; on May 8, 2013, the state Supreme Court rejected those challenges.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 20 D, 30 R 91 D, 112 R
    State legislative lines Politician commission with balanced partisan composition
    2000 cong. lines R 21 D, 29 R 98 D, 104 R
    2000 state lines Politician commission with balanced partisan composition

    Pennsylvania's congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the state House committee responsible for redistricting are listed here; the members of the state Senate committee are listed here.

    Pennsylvania's state legislative lines are drawn by a five-member politician commission, in place since 1968. Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) may choose one commissioner, and those four commissioners choose a fifth to serve as chair, who may not hold paid public office. If the first four commissioners cannot agree on a chair within 45 days, the state Supreme Court will appoint a fifth commissioner to serve as chair. The current members of the commission -- including a chair appointed by the state Supreme Court -- are listed here. [Pa. Const. art. II, § 17(b)]

    The Pennsylvania constitution vests original jurisdiction in the state Supreme Court for review of state legislative lines in state court. There is no similar provision for congressional lines. [Pa. Const. art. II, § 17(d), (g)]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Pennsylvania on March 9, 2011.

    Pennsylvania state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by February 14, 2012. [25 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2873(d)] The regular legislative session began on January 4, 2011, and ends January 4, 2012.

    Pennsylvania state law requires that its commission draw initial proposals for state legislative lines within 90 days of the commissioners' appointment or the approval of Census data, whichever is later. In 2011, that deadline will be November 15. In the thirty days after draft maps are produced, any person can file objections to the plan, and the commission has 30 days from the date of the last objection to approve a final plan. [Pa. Const. art. II, § 17(c)]

    Pennsylvania prohibits redrawing state legislative district lines mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Pa. Const. art. II, § 17(e)]


  • Public input

    Scheduled hearings for the congressional redistricting process are listed here and here. Hearings by the commission responsible for state legislative redistricting are listed here.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Pennsylvania must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; for its state legislative lines, Pennsylvania further asks that districts be drawn that are as "nearly equal in population as practicable." [Pa. Const. art. II, § 16]

    Pennsylvania must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    For its state legislative lines, the Pennsylvania constitution further requires that districts be contiguous and compact, and that they respect county, city, incorporated town, borough, township, and ward boundaries "unless absolutely necessary." [Pa. Const. art. II, § 16]


  • 2010-cycle cases

    On January 10, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court consolidated all litigation challenging the state legislative lines.

    Due to the volume of filings, information on the Pennsylvania cases is located on a separate litigation page, here.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Pennsylvania's legislature passed a congressional plan, which was signed on January 7, 2002. The plan, with a deviation of 19 persons from largest to smallest district, was challenged in state and federal court; it was upheld in state court (on partisan gerrymandering grounds), but struck down in federal court on April 8, 2002, on equal population grounds. [Erfer v. Pennsylvania, 794 A.2d 325 (Pa. 2002); Vieth v. Pennsylvania, 195 F. Supp. 2d 672 (M.D. Pa. 2002)]

    The legislature then passed a new congressional plan, which was signed on April 18, 2002. That plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld. [Vieth v. Pennsylvania, 241 F. Supp. 2d 478 (M.D. Pa. 2003), aff'd sub nom. Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004)]

    For state legislative districts, the state's commission passed a state legislative plan on November 19, 2001, which became final on December 28, 2001 after a few technical adjustments. The state legislative plan was challenged in state court, and upheld. [Albert v. 2001 Legis. Reapportionment Comm'n, 790 A.2d 989 (Pa. 2002)]


  • Other state links

    PoliticsPA, The Ins & Outs of the New (2014) House and Senate Lines

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