A Fair PA House Map that is Judicially Enforceable

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This PA 203-seat House of Representatives map is submitted by the Pennsylvania nonprofit Concerned Citizens for Democracy, or “CCFD.” As noted in an earlier-submitted document for the 50-seat PA Senate map, CCFD suggests that districting take place by applying CCFD’s simple method that produces fair districts that will be judicially manageable, a stipulation sought by the Supreme Court of the United States. Two PA House of Representative maps (“House” maps) using the same CCFD method and prepared independently by two CCFD summer interns (Michael Borowski and Maia Model) tied for the first place PA House award from the Draw the Lines competition in 2020. Methodology Summary (This section is substantially identical to the summary in the CCFD State Senate submission) The CCFD method does NOT use any information on the following in the initial drafting of electoral maps: NO demographic data including minorities NO partisan data on parties NO incumbent elected officials’ addresses NO community of interest data, for example school districts DRA’s partisan and demographic layers were never applied nor consulted For this map, CCFD chose to employ a conventional +/-5% population variance condition. As such, the target population of 64,053 persons, a figure demanded by the published 2020 Census populations and 203 House seats could vary by +/-3,202 persons. This map complies with these population constraints, designed to achieve a balance of representative fairness, minimal splitting of government divisions and subdivisions, and manageable map drafting. The CCFD method rests on the four (4) principles stipulated in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth’s Constitution. Districts are compact, contiguous, equal in population, and minimize boundary splits of political entities – “Unless absolutely necessary no county, city, incorporated town, borough, township or ward shall be divided….” The CCFD methodology explicitly addresses the “absolutely necessary” criterion through its stepwise approach to the district design process. Moreover, due to the small population target associated with House districts, explicitly addressing this goal plays an amplified role in managing the trade-offs between subdivision splitting and population equality inherent in their design. Stepwise Allocation Procedure CCFD’s unique and novel procedure transfers whole political subdivisions in stepwise fashion along the boundary of two districts adding subdivisions layer-by-layer to achieve population equality. The process starts by associating House districts within counties. Fully 158 districts could, in theory, lie totally within county boundaries, although allocation restrictions limit the feasible number for specific districting designs. In addition, there are 32 Townships/Boroughs with sufficient populations to allow hosting an entire district. For example, the city and county of Philadelphia must host at least 23 separate districts (and one part of a 24th district), and the city of Pittsburgh must host at least 4 full House districts. Moreover, the allowable population variance could permit Philadelphia to host as many as 26 full districts with each district population set at the lower population limit of that allowable (60,851 persons). Next, districts add or subtract whole townships and wards along common boundaries aiming to equalize the districts’ population. For this map, we applied a technique we call “layering’: the township/ward swaps are only made in sequential steps along the common boundary. Adhering strictly to the boundary prevents the creation of meandering tentacles favored by those who gerrymander for political advantage. Doing so creates boundary distortions that citizens, all political parties and actors, and the judges in the courts can easily recognize. Examples in this submitted House map demonstrate the method and its simple application. One example that is easy to see consists of districts 110 and 111 that lie along northern tier counties involving Bradford County, Susquehanna County and Wyoming County. None of these counties hosted enough population on Census Day in 2020 to qualify for a whole district (which totaled 60,104; 38,477; and 26,116, respectively). To start, we assigned the largest, Bradford County, to District 110, and the other two counties to District 111. With full counties, District 110 has a population of 60,104, below the minimum district size of 60,851 established by the variance limit. District 111 starts with a population of 64,593, which is well within the allowable population range. The boundary between these two districts in Susquehanna County includes tiny Little Meadows Borough (population 245) at the extreme northwest corner of the county, then travelling straight south followed by Apolacon Township (427), Middletown Township (284), Rush Township (1,136) and Auburn Township (1,737). District 110 needs 747 more persons to reach a population that complies. By adding township subdivisions from north to south, we added 245 (not enough), then 427 (still not enough), then 284, which at 956, provides sufficient additional population to District 110 to comply with the population variance constraint, albeit near the lower limit. Subtracting this same amount from the original District 111 leaves it with a population of 63,637, somewhat below the target but still well within the allowed variance range. So, this adjustment involved a north-to-south layering process involving three subdivisions. Another example of layering involves the boundary between Adams and Cumberland Counties in the south-central part of Pennsylvania. Adams County, with a population of 104,029, must host at least two Districts, in this case Districts 91 and 193. The latter district lies fully within Adams County. But District 91 needs substantial additional population which comes from eight complete townships and boroughs in Cumberland County plus part of Southampton Township, in this case Upper Precinct 2 (population 3,718) and Lower Precinct (1,718) but not Upper Precinct 1 (2,087). These precincts, which comprise the outer suburbs of the Shippensburg region, host relatively large populations, requiring careful selection of District assignments. CCFD House Map Design Features We believe that the CCFD House map achieves remarkably low subdivision splitting while meeting the +/-5% population equality condition Dave’s Redistricting App (DRA) states that Pennsylvania counties could host up to 174 single-county House districts. This map design includes 163 single-county districts. By the CCFD design criteria, only if the districts’ populations exceed the allowed variance range would townships, boroughs or wards be split along precinct lines. Given the relatively small size of each district, a total of only 119 townships/boroughs finished with splits (of 2,572 total townships/boroughs in the state). Of those, 32 were required due to large populations. The remaining 87 splits were “design” splits associated with resolving potential population variance errors during the construction of the district map. Of these 88 township/borough design splits, a total of 47 involved further splitting to the ward/precinct level. The state hosts 4,314 ward-like divisions in townships/boroughs with two or more such divisions. (The names vary. They include “precincts”, “divisions”, and “wards”). Twenty of these involve wards in Philadelphia, 8 in Delaware County, and the remaining nineteen are scattered through the state in ten additional counties. This map design required no precinct splitting. There are 9,179 precincts in the state in the data files approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. The CCFD method produces high statewide design values using DRA for three of its comparative metrics: proportionality = 90, splitting = 95, compactness = 67). Minority representation (= 58) is sufficiently strong that only minor editing may be needed at the end of the drafting process to achieve VRA objectives. Though the DRA Competitiveness rating for this design is low (=25) there is significant balance in the post-drafting partisan analysis (DRA counts Red Lean = 79, Blue Lean = 84, Even = 40 districts). The CCFD design method explicitly ignores partisan characteristics of districts. The districts created likely already comply with racial requirements of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). If not, if racial, ethnic or communities of interest are split, one can fine tune the lines at the precinct level to achieve these redistricting objectives. DRA counts twenty-two majority-minority districts in this design. By way of comparison, the current House map, based on the 2010 Census population figures, scores as follows: proportionality = 0, splitting = 41, compactness = 45, minority representation = 65, and competitiveness = 25. Note the proportionality, splitting, and compactness are all much lower than the corresponding scores for this design. In sum, this method, splits in political units are minimized and districts remain compact. For this reason, it is also a method that the courts can understand and can manage with enforceable standards.

Quantitative Analysis

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