Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday rejected a revised congressional map submitted by the state’s Republican legislature after independent analyses found that the new map was just as biased in favor of the GOP as the old map.
“Like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander,” Wolf said in a statement. “Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party.”
In addition to the outside analyses, the governor’s office presented the conclusions of Tufts University mathematician Moon Duchin. Duchin used an algorithm to generate “millions of alternative districting plans” according to the state’s traditional redistricting criteria.
The new map’s “bias in favor of Republicans is extremely unlikely to have come about by chance,” Duchin wrote, putting the odds of such a map at roughly 0.1 percent. The new map “is indeed an extreme outlier, exhibiting a decidedly partisan skew that cannot be explained by Pennsylvania’s political geography or the application of traditional districting principles.”
Last month, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that congressional districts drawn by the Republican legislature following the 2010 Census were an illegal partisan gerrymander that deprived the state’s voters of their right to participate in “free and equal” elections. In each election held since that map was drawn, Democratic candidates won close to 50 percent of the statewide House popular vote but picked up just five of the state’s 18 House seats.
Republican lawmakers accomplished this feat in 2011 by drawing sprawling, oddly shaped district boundaries in order to pack Democratic voters into the smallest number of districts possible. The districts became the butt of national jokes, earning nicknames like “Goofy kicking Donald Duck.”