Should Legislative District Apportionment decisions be made to advantage a sub group?

1. What is Legislative District Apportionment (redistricting)?

Why is redistricting conducted?


3. According to your State's or Commonwealth's Constitution, how are legislative districts determined?


What is the process for apportioning legislative districts in your state?


4. What is gerrymandering?


5. Evaluate the state government legislative district in which you live. Is it consistent with the Constitution?


Is it pro voter/citizen or pro legislator/political party?


6. Assess the demographics of your state government. Does it represent the people of the state?


7. Compare the demographics of your legislative district population with another one in your commonwealth / state.


"A comprehensive study of voting records in the U.S. Congress published in the December 1996 American Political Science Review was performed to try and measure the trade-off between having black representatives and black influence. The study found that a trade-off did indeed exist. Concentrating black voters in districts to elect black representatives diluted support among other representatives for bills favored by blacks. Spreading black voters across more districts resulted in the election of representatives who were more sensitive to black interests. The study also found an interesting regional effect that may be relevant to South Carolina legislative districts. In the North the optimal strategy for maximizing representational influence was to spread black voters evenly across districts. In the South the best strategy was to concentrate blacks in districts at 47%. At this percentage blacks did have an "equal opportunity" to be elected, and even when not elected did help elect a representative who was likely to support minority interests in Congress." Robert E. Botsch, Professor of Political Science, USC. "Apportionment: African-American Representation"

Now that you have become an expert by researching the facts, consider this...

Should redistricting be done to give an advantage to any sub group(s) in an election?


The Philadelphia Inquirer, Wed, Jun. 18, 2008 Letter to the Editor.

Redistricting can have bad impact on blacks
By State Rep. Jake Wheatley, represents the 19th Legislative District in Allegheny County.

While much has been written and said recently about the way Pennsylvania's legislative districts are drawn, a major concern has been absent from most of the discussion: the possible impact that proposed changes could have on minority representation in the commonwealth, especially in western Pennsylvania.

I am deeply concerned with the impact such legislation would have on the representation of African Americans and other people of color at the state level. Regrettably, the 253-member Pennsylvania General Assembly only has 21 African American and Latino elected officials - 17 in the House of Representatives and four in the state Senate. Of those members, only three come from outside of the city of Philadelphia.

According to U.S. Census estimates for 2006, if the General Assembly's demographics matched those of the people we represent, instead of 21 African American and Latino legislators, there would be 36. I do not expect an exact match, but these statistics must at a minimum raise concerns.

To date, I have heard nothing about allowing whoever draws the districts even to consider these types of factors.

As drafted, the main redistricting bill being touted as "reform," House Bill 2420, would provide for absolutely no latitude to ensure that minority families and interests are adequately represented. Given the magnitude of this issue, I believe many questions must be addressed. For example, what would be the short- and long-term impact of this bill on African Americans, Latinos and other minority residents as well as disadvantaged communities that are underrepresented?

As has been widely reported, the House State Government Committee pulled House Bill 2420 from its May 29 meeting agenda. The bill would transfer the responsibility for drawing legislative districts to the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), the nonpartisan office that converts legislators' proposals into legal language for House and Senate members of both parties. However, the bureau's director has publicly voiced his concerns about the possibility of jeopardizing the LRB's nonpartisan mission and reputation. Consequently, the committee chairwoman felt it inappropriate to simply rubber-stamp what she believes to be flawed legislation.

The potential partisanship of the Legislative Reference Bureau appears to be just one of this bill's flaws. Clearly, there may be more, and they must be thoroughly researched before a measure as important and far-reaching as this is considered on the floor of the House. That is part of the committee process: to study and identify the problems and merits of legislation. Based on what I know so far, House Bill 2420 would create more problems than solutions.


"A free government is a complicated piece of machinery, the nice and exact adjustment of whose springs, wheels, and weights,
is not yet well comprehended by the artists of the age, and still less by the people." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson


U.S. Census Bureau - redistricting information Public Interest Guide to Pennsylvania Redistricting
The Rose Report on redistricting Apportionment and Redistricting League of Women Voters.
Redistricting Reform Project Center for Politics & Public Affairs @ Franklin and Marshall College
Redistricting - National Conference of State Legislatures Common Cause - Redistricting
Redistricting Debates in Pa. - The Pennsylvania General Assembly - Find Legislation by.
Citizen's Guide to Pennsylvania Local Government
US Congressional Districts map 2007 Pennsylvania: Compromise in School Board Makeup AP 8/27/08
Pennsylvania Projects Citizen Rights Who Represents You? Pennsylvania Charters PA County Government
Ballot Access Running for Office Government by the numbers Pennsylvania Facts puzzle Cities of Pennsylvania
Make a PA fact hunt Map PA Waters Pennsylvania Geology Evaluate Legislator PA Flag Facts
Pa map & facts activity Amend the Constitution Dig into lobbying in Pa Music Artists of PA Government of PA.
Exceptional Women of PA Visual Artists of PA Coppedge activity Sing PA Facts Government's Demographics
Honor a Suffragist Look into your Community's History Evaluate government website Consumer Protection Project Reforming Gov. Persuasive Essay
Life Expectancy in PA State of the Union Fact Check Exploring Population Density Who gets fines? PA Founding Fathers

In 1900, Pennsylvania had 32 electoral votes and California had 9. In 2008, Pennsylvania has 21 and California has 55.

Internet Hunts / Nature / Computers / Puzzles & Projects / Pennsylvania Projects / Constitution & Civics Studies / Site map / Home

posted 6/2008 by Cynthia J. O'Hora, released to the public domain

tree icon How to make a Digital Answer Sheet: Highlight the text of the questions on this web page, copy them - Edit .. Copy. Open a text document or word processing document. Paste the questions into the blank document. Answer the questions in the word processing document in a contrasting color or font ( not yellow, avoid fancy fonts like: black, Symbol, dearform fomnt or broad. Save frequently as you work. I do not like losing my work. You will not like it either. Put your name and the date in a header. Bad things happen. Retain a copy of your work on your computer. Submit your assignment via a class electronic drop box or email attachment. Consider using free Google Docs.

Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon Make Your Own Printed answer sheet

Aligned with the following Pa Academic Standards - Reading, Writing Speaking, History, Civics and Government, Mathematics, Civics, Science and Technology
Aligned with the National Standards for Civics and Government