Use FDPA Maps

I’ve reviewed the current map and the various maps submitted on your web site as well as my own formulations and there can be no doubt that the maps submitted by Fair Districts PA (FDPA) are vastly superior in terms of the constitutionally mandated criteria. Particularly noteworthy is their compactness and the dramatic reduction of municipality divisions. I live in Manheim Township in central Lancaster County. The 14 suburban municipalities of central Lancaster County, including Lancaster City, are divided almost equally between registered Democrats and Republicans (slight advantage among Dems). Most of my comments relate to this region. The most significant difference of interests among the communities in our county is the divide among rural, suburban and urban municipalities. The FDPA maps do an excellent job of keeping like communities of interest together. For example, Senate District 13 (FDPA’s District 32) is composed of Lancaster City and all the suburban communities surrounding it. Most of the rest of Lancaster County is rural. The population of the new District 13 is almost exactly half of the county and, coincidently, is very close to the standard population of a new Senate district, which means the rest of the county could be its own Senate district. The new District 13 would be one of the most competitive Senate districts in the state which accurately reflects the voting registration of the region. I do propose one alteration to FDPA’s District 32/31. If the 5 precincts of Strasburg and Providence is switched with the 5 precincts of East Lampeter that are contained in FDPA’s District 31, it would keep all of East Lampeter in the same district (there would be no divided communities), would better reflect the suburban/rural dichotomy, would make the District 13 even more competitive, and bring both districts closer to the population standard. FDPA’s House map would separate rural Warwick Township (and join it with other rural communities) from suburban Manheim Township. It would take the totally mismatched suburban college town of Millersville out of mostly rural district 100 (where it was placed for nakedly partisan reasons) and move it to suburban District 97 (FDPA’s District 115) where it is paired with the county’s other main college campus, Franklin & Marshall). It consolidates all of Manheim Township into one legislative district (instead of the current three) and consolidates Lancaster Township from four different districts into two. The map moves six northwestern and primarily white suburban-style city precincts into District 97, making District 96 (FAPA’s Dist. 117) into a minority/majority district. I can think of only two objective reasons to reject the FDPA maps. FDPA maps do not consider incumbent protection (nor should any fair map, particularly since doing so relies on the current distorted map). However, it is hard to imagine that a political body, like your Commission, would not take that into consideration. As you do, please remember your oath requires you to place a higher priority on the constitutional criteria. Interestingly, the Fair Districts PA map creates 80 House districts that lean Republican and 80 that lean Democratic, with 43 competitive districts, which seems fair. However, Democrats could reasonably consider this unfair since there are ~ 500,000 more Dems in the state. As the Commission considers these two factors, I would urge you to, at least, use the FDPA maps as your starting point.