WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, a second lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania to ensure that the state adopts a new congressional map based on 2020 census data before the 2022 election. This lawsuit, similar to the one filed last Friday, asks the court system to step into the Commonwealth’s redistricting process given the high likelihood that new congressional districts will not be in place in time for the 2022 election cycle. Impasse litigation has been common in past rounds of redistricting in Pennsylvania when the General Assembly and governorship are controlled by different parties.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Pennsylvania voters who are “leading professors of mathematics and science,” points out that the General Assembly and governor could not compromise on a map before the General Assembly ended their session and they will not meet again until January 2022. Because of this stalemate, the petitioners argue that, “at this time, there is no realistic prospect that the General Assembly will pass a final congressional plan and the Governor will sign that plan into law before preparations for the primary election must begin.” Given that the current congressional map is based off of 2010 census data, the petitioners argue that the districts are malapportioned and therefore dilute the voting power of residents. The current congressional map also has 18 seats and Pennsylvania lost a seat after the 2020 census. The lawsuit argues that “by lacking both equally populated districts and the correct number of districts, the current map impairs the ability of voters to associate with other voters who live in their as-yet-undrawn districts, and the candidates running for office in these unknown districts.” For expedient relief, the petitioners plan to seek review soon from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.