The CWA News | Moving Forward: Redistricting

Volume 75, Issue #4 | Winter 2015

In Coalesville, PA, CWA Local 13000 Unit 23 President Bill Scott, left, and members talk about the election for PA Supreme Court judges and what it means for redistricting in the state.
In Coalesville, PA, CWA Local 13000 Unit 23 President Bill Scott, left, and members talk about the election for PA Supreme Court judges and what it means for redistricting in the state.

Democracy Initiative allies, including CWA, pushed candidates and measures to end gerrymandering and make redistricting more bipartisan, transparent and fair.

In a big victory for fair elections, three open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court were won by Democratic candidates on Election Day 2015, giving Democrats a 5-2 majority on the court for at least a decade.

This matters, because in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court names the chair of the state's redistricting commission, who has the tie-breaking vote. Since 2011, Republicans have controlled the redistricting process, and gerrymandering has been the rule.

In 2012, Republicans won control of the state legislature despite losing the state's popular vote by a 52-47 percent vote, all because they had controlled the drawing of district maps. In 2014, although Democrats won 44 percent of the votes in the 2014 midterm elections, they got just five--or 27 percent--of the state's 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In Ohio, the fourth time was the charm as voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to scrap the old way of drawing boundaries for General Assembly districts.

By a 72-28 percent vote, voters created a new, bipartisan commission to draw legislative districts that are compact and do not favor one political party or another. The amendment takes effect in 2021, when the next round of redistricting will occur.