Governor Wolf Creates Redistricting Advisory Council to Help Evaluate Fairness in Upcoming Congressional Redistricting Map

Governor WolfCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Tom Wolf has stated a commitment to a fair and transparent redistricting process and this week signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Redistricting Advisory Council. The six-member council, comprised of redistricting experts, will provide guidance to the governor to assist his review of the congressional redistricting plan which will be passed by the General Assembly later this year. In addition, the governor announced the opening of a redistricting website at which members of the public can submit proposed maps, outline communities of interest, and submit comments to help shape the outcome of this critical part of our democratic process.

“We must bring more fairness and transparency to the redistricting process, so every Pennsylvanian is assured their voice is heard,” said Gov. Wolf. “I have long believed that gerrymandering is wrong, and politicians should not use the redistricting process to choose their own voters. Our commonwealth and our nation were founded on the ideals that voters freely select their own elected leaders.

“The decisions that are made through the drawing of new district boundaries will affect every person and community in Pennsylvania for the next decade. It is one of my most important acts as governor and I take that responsibility extremely seriously. That is why I have tasked this advisory council with listening to the people of Pennsylvania and providing their expert advice so that I can better evaluate the maps in the best interest of all Pennsylvanians.”

Executive Order 2021-05 creates the council that will review processes in other states that reduce gerrymandering, develop factors to determine if a plan improves the integrity and fairness and prevents the dilution of a person’s vote and offer recommendations to ensure that districts are compact and contiguous to keep communities together and ensure people are proportionally represented.

The council members have expertise in redistricting, political science and mapmaking:

  • Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Ph.D. J.D., professor of law, Drexel University
  • Lee Ann Banaszak, PhD., political scientist, Penn State University
  • Beth Campbell Ph.D., mathematician, Gettysburg College
  • Christopher S. Fowler, PhD., geographer, Penn State University
  • John J. Kennedy, Ph.D., political scientist, West Chester University
  • Sozi Tulante, J.D., former Philadelphia City Solicitor

The council will engage the public, redistricting experts, and other stakeholders to make holistic recommendations and emphasize integrity and fairness when drawing boundaries for Pennsylvania’s congressional map.

Voters’ voices and opinions should have a key role in redistricting decisions. In order to provide direct opportunities for the public weigh in and have their voices heard, the Wolf Administration today opened a new redistricting website at which members of the public can submit proposed district maps, outline communities of interest they believe should be given special consideration in the redistricting process and submit comments to be considered by the governor and Redistricting Advisory Council.

“As this critically important process kicks off in Pennsylvania, we want to hear from you,” said Gov. Wolf. “Your vote and your voice matter. So please, take some time to share your thoughts with us.”

Gov. Wolf has long fought to modernize our elections to remove barriers to voting and improve the process for citizens and election officials.

In 2019, the governor signed a landmark law with the most significant improvement to Pennsylvania’s elections in more than 80 years. The law created the extremely popular option to cast a ballot by mail without an excuse and provided more time to register to vote, among other enhancements.

During this term, the governor also helped to secure $90 million to counties with purchasing new voting systems with a paper trail and modern security. The Wolf Administration also created the option for people to register to vote or update their registration online for the first time, which more than 3 million people have used.

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