Rushed redistricting map is producing embarrassing chaos

Tuesday was the first day under a delayed schedule for Congressional candidates to gather signatures to qualify for the May 15 primary election ballots. The problem is, some candidates don’t even know if they are circulating petitions in districts they will not be a part of once the Congressional boundaries are ultimately set when all court action is exhausted.

While those seeking to turn Congressional redistricting into a strictly fingerpointing exercise say redistricting is necessary because of an unfair advantage to Republicans in the existing boundaries, the court-engineered chaos has created Democratic casualties.

Pennsylvania auditor general , Democrat Eugene DePasquale, says he will not run for Congress after spending several days considering a shot at a more competitive district in southcentral Pennsylvania. DePasquale lives in York County. The court-ordered boundaries created his competitive disadvantage by adding Democratic areas surrounding the city of Harrisburg.

Nina Ahmad, a Democrat and former Philadelphia city official who had prepared to seek U.S. Rep. Bob Brady’s Philadelphia-based seat, will run instead for lieutenant government after the court-ordered map effectively sent one of three Philadelphia-based districts to the more heavily Republican Montgomery County.

So while it may be true that some of the Congressional boundaries need redrawn, there is no way to do it without winners and losers for both the major political parties in terms of voter registration and preference numbers.

Given that reality, the state Supreme Court has put a political stamp on its ruling by trying to force a new map on voters and candidates so close to an election. As far as we know, the court has no Constitutional authority to draw up its own map.

Our initial take was that a redistricting map fair to both major political parties and voters in Pennsylvania needed to be drawn up with a thought process not rushed by the political election season. A practical map applying to the 2020 elections seemed a more logical goal for all concerned. The embarrassing chaos of recent days is giving witness to that wisdom.