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Gerrymandering before our eyes


Many Bucks County residents are interested to know how the new voting districts will be drawn for the state House and Senate.
Many citizens, including the president of the League of Women Voters of Bucks County and the former executive director of the Bucks County Planning Commission, testified that the map should have one district in Lower Bucks, one in Central Bucks, and one for Upper Bucks, corresponding to how the county plans are drawn and the economic, environmental and social challenges of each region.
At least two maps were submitted with this testimony which aligned with these regions and met all constitutional requirements.
Despite this strong advocacy, it appears that citizen testimony was ignored. The preliminary LRC (Legislative Redistricting Commission) map proposes that Lower and Central Bucks should both be divided, packing Democrats into the 10th district. Some say this is an example of incumbent protection and “buddy-mandering,” where Republicans and Democratic caucuses make deals behind closed doors.

It is also a good example of the gerrymandering practice known as “packing.” Packing is a strategy to minimize the power of a voting group, and in this case the voting power of Bucks Democrats has been minimized.
By packing Lower Bucks Democrats into the 10th Senate District, there are now 30,000 more voting Democrats in Sen. Santarsiero’s district, far more than needed to win an election. The arrangement leaves a very slim margin of less than 5,000 Democrats in the 6th Senate District now held by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, making it more difficult for a Democrats to win there.
Had the map been drawn to correspond to the county regions, Democrats would have 26.000 more likely voters than Republicans in Lower Bucks, and a 15,000-vote advantage in Central Bucks.
But instead, Santarsiero has a district packed with Democratic voters, and the Republicans are more likely to win Lower Bucks.

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