Experts weigh in on Gov. Wolf's congressional map veto
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF-TV) —
It's a "NO" for the newly drawn congressional map.
On Tuesday morning, Governor Tom Wolf rejected the proposal the Republican controlled legislature presented him last Friday ahead of Thursday's deadline.
The Governor's decision comes less than a week before the Democratic majority PA Supreme Court is set to draw new boundaries for our 18 congressional districts.
The move doesn't surprise Marywood University History Professor Adam Shprintzen.
"It seems as if the new maps that were submitted by the GOP were not so different than the ones that were first submitted, and that were rejected,” Shprintzen said.
“I mean even rejected by the State Supreme court and couldn't even get a hearing at the national Supreme Court because they were considered to be so problematic,” he added.
So now, the state Supreme Court likely has the job of drawing the lines.
But Chris Ellis with Bucknell University doesn't believe the map will be equal because of the way the political geography works in Pennsylvania.
"I think they may draw a map that will be a little more advantageous to Democrats in the sense that it will at least preserve some geographical compactness in areas where it might make sense to keep counties together and things like that,” Ellis said.
Republican lawmakers call Wolf's criticisms of the map "absurd."
Wolf argues the map squeezes densely populated areas into small districts.
It's a process called packing.
But Republicans say densely populated areas are going to be in smaller and more compact districts since each district is required to have 705,688 persons in it.
"We're trying to preserve natural constituencies, right? So, you're not going to put Harrisburg into a bunch of different districts just because. That we're going to try to keep the natural compactness as much as we can. We are going to try to keep communities with similar interests as much as we can,” Ellis said.
"Looking at the map at a statewide level, there is certainly an issue. That does not mean each community in this state are being represented fairly. The Supreme Court should have the last say in this and they theoretically should,” Shprintzen added.
It's unclear how long the Supreme Court will take to draw the new congressional maps.