Two hotly debated election issues are coming to the forefront this week in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on redistricting and Voter ID starting tomorrow in Philadelphia.
Senate democrats are among the dozen groups challenging the newest redistricting plan that was already supposed to be in place for the April primary and the November election. Many think the newest plan still unnecessarily divides certain counties and districts. Now, it will be up to the high court in Pennsylvania to determine if they agree and send the plan back to the drawing board.
Every 10 years, according to the newest census, the Pennsylvania legislature redraws the lines that are used for districting and voting across the state. There are 50 Senate districts and 203 House districts and they are supposed to provide equal representation. But, this process is always a hot-button political topic because it gives the party in charge a chance to draw the lines in their favor.
This past January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the Republican drawn plan saying it had too many splits. In June, the group charged with redrawing the districts, sent a second plan to the court for review.
"This plan is the result of negotiations and a long process of compromise using ground rules set down by the chairman. It has far fewer split municipalities than the 2011 plan that was rejected by the Supreme Court," said Representative Frank Dermody, D-33rd after the second maps were drawn in June.
"As you look at this map, you will determine that they were all done and connected to enhancement of Republican performance in Senate districts. I'm very disappointed. This is a process that has been going on for almost a year and a half, and we are actually where we started from," said Representative Jay Costa, D-43rd in June.
Some Democrats are still not happy. The newly redrawn redistricting plan reduces the amount of splits almost in half but still Senate Democrats say that number can be cut by another half if the Republicans want to be fair.
All of this was supposed to be redrawn and in place for the April primary and November election. That's not the case, so Pennsylvania will continue to use maps drawn back in 2001 for this upcoming presidential election. The new maps will be in place for 2014.