Avoiding partisan disputes, PSATS only policy on redistricting is to not split municipalities.
Even the State Constitution agrees. The Pennsylvania Constitution specifically provides that, “unless absolutely necessary, no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided” in creating a legislative district.
Today, PSATS will offer comments to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission draft House map that hacks up 45 townships, more than any other type of municipality. The Commission should review these excessive township splits or explain why these communities of interest have been divided. Not a single township in Pennsylvania is larger than the 64,050 targeted size of a district so there should not be township splits. In fact, one proposed township split has less than 7,500 people (Delaware Township, Pike County). There are 25 townships that were not previously split, remain below the target size and yet are split this time. including Northampton Township, Bucks County, South Middleton Township, Cumberland County Harborcreek Township, Erie County, and Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County just to name a few.
Understandably, communities larger than the target size must be split, but that ONLY includes Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Bethlehem and Scranton. Here is another unexplainable tidbit: State College, Harrisburg and Lancaster (all less than 64,050) were previously whole, have LOST population and are now split.
Townships that have concerns are encouraged to submit additional comments to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission that is holding hearings starting today through next week. In accordance with Pennsylvania Constitution, Article II, Section 17(c), any person aggrieved by the Preliminary Plan may file exceptions with the Commission. Any exceptions to the Preliminary Plan should precisely state the objections. Exceptions may be uploaded on the Commission’s website, www.redistricting.state.pa.us (House, Senate), or may be sent in writing to the Commission at the following address:
2021 Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission
P.O. Box 203079
Harrisburg, PA 17120
The deadline for exceptions is January 18, 2022. Exceptions must be either uploaded on the website or physically received by the Commission by that deadline. Exceptions uploaded or received after January 18, 2022, even if post-marked before that date, cannot be considered by the Commission