Deadline looms: Pa. court has until Monday to pick new map

Court probably 'better off writing its own map'

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The map madness continues. The governor, the lieutenant governor, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, Republicans, and more have all submitted proposed maps of Pennsylvania's congressional districts to the state' Supreme Court.

Terry Madonna, a political analyst, said the court has options for reshaping the state's 18 congressional districts.

"They could take one of the several maps and adopt it. Number two, they could adopt their own map," said Madonna. "If they choose one from those submitted, you can see where this goes politically."

The governor's map lumps much of Berks County, including Reading, with the Lehigh Valley, while others lump it with other counties.

"Does Berks have much in common with the Lehigh Valley? Or culturally and politically, should it be more in line with Chester County? Or maybe even Lancaster County?" Madonna questioned.

There's a lack of bipartisanship, or even partisanship, as House and Senate Democrats drew different maps.

"Which party has an advantage in these districts. Is what we're going to look for, if any, or are they neutral?" Madonna asked. "And what methods did they use to determine neutrality?"

The lieutenant governor's proposal keeps Berks split into four districts. He originally had Berks in one, as it had been many years ago. Why the change?

"What you're basically looking for is how many counties did they break up. For example, you go into Berks County, they originally had four," Madonna said. "The whole point of it is to not break up those municipalities."

The big questions now: Which counties will be packaged with Reading? And will incumbent congressmen remain in their districts?

"In many cases, millions of Pennsylvanians are going to live in a different congressional district," he said.

The court has until Monday to approve a map for the May 15 primary. What does Madonna believe would be the best option for the court?

"The court would probably be better off writing its own map," Madonna advised, "not playing around with any of the maps, for which their could be criticisms."

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