I am a dedicated voter in State College and I am angry. As we approach Election Day, the more I learn about gerrymandering the angrier I become. My vote is mostly wasted. Because of egregious gerrymandering in cracked Centre County, my neighbor’s state representative’s district runs 40 miles north, while my own representative’s district runs 68 miles south.
Some folks like the perversion of gerrymandering. Our state senator serves Centre County but has future ambitions for 5th Congressional District. As majority leader he will be on the committee that draws district lines behind closed doors. He will pack his voters to face no serious challenge. Another Republican representative says that Democrats should avoid reform so they can set gerrymandering just as badly. A local businessman tells me he likes our insulated politicians because he always knows where to send the money to buy influence. These arguments illuminate the problem.
The current system gives us ineffective governance as demonstrated by late budgets and poor choices. Because of this stacked deck, it’s nearly impossible for voters to turn out incumbent politicians. Fifty percent were unopposed in the 2016 elections.
There is a better way. The nonpartisan group Fair Districts PA leads a grassroots effort to change the state constitution to create an independent citizen commission in time to handle reapportionment and redistricting after the 2020 census.
Are you outraged at the electoral impotence imposed on you? Learn more and get involved at www.fairdistrictspa.com.
Debbie Trudeau, State College