Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, railed against the redistricting process today. The General Assembly is responsible for redrawing congressional districts in Pennsylvania, which is losing 1 seat in the U.S. House of Representative, from 19 to 18.
Burn says that the redistricting process has been secretive.
"Our concern is the Republicans, who are controlling the process, have done this in such a fashion that we will not see these new districts until the very last hour, which will stifle debate or discussion," said Burn.
Relying on the latest data from the 2010 Census, the legislature is charged with making sure that each district has about the same number of residents, is compact and contiguous, and keeps municipalities intact, unless splitting them is absolutely necessary. Democratic state lawmakers have charged that Republicans are devising a new map that benefits their party and does not adhere to the true political make-up of the state.
Burn called it a "Republican conspiracy to revisit the issue of changing the way Pennsylvania distributes its electoral votes. If they get away with this, will they again revisit the possibility of making Pennsylvania a state where the votes are awarded per district, versus all or nothing?"
Republican leaders in the legislature are expected to unveil their final congressional map on Monday, December 12. It would have to be approved by the state House and Senate and signed by Governor Corbett.