AFTPA President Ted Kirsch urges Republican lawmakers to work with Democrats to draw fair voting maps

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Statement by Ted Kirsch, President, AFT Pennsylvania
February 5, 2018

“Pennsylvania voters crossed another hurdle successfully in their efforts to win fair Congressional voting districts before the important May 15 midterm primary elections.

“The U.S. Supreme Court refused a request by state Republican lawmakers to stop the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling requiring lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional map. AFT Pennsylvania is among the groups that filed briefs in support of redrawing Congressional voting districts fairly and in a bipartisan manner.

“It’s time for the legislature to come together in a bipartisan fashion and redraw voting districts that the State Supreme Court found ‘clearly, plainly and palpably’ violate the state’s constitution.

“Pennsylvania is a swing state in which Democratic voters have a small registration edge over Republican voters. Because of the extremely partisan way in which the GOP-controlled legislature gerrymandered voting districts in 2012, Pennsylvania’s Congressional districts the GOP has maintained a lopsided victory in every Congressional election since. Of Pennsylvania’s 18 Congressional seats, only five districts have elected Democrats.

“The Republican majority must end the foot-dragging and fruitless legal maneuvers. The state and federal Supreme Courts have spoken. Let’s get down to the business of drawing fair voting districts that ensure that all voters’ voices have an equal chance to be heard.

"Our democracy depends on voters going to the polls, confident in the knowledge that what they do on Election Day matters. We can fix this for the midterm elections and in the long run. Let’s get it done!”

AFT Pennsylvania represents 26,000 K-12 public, charter and private school teachers and staff; graduate students, contingent and full-time college and university faculty members and staff; and state employees. AFT Pennsylvania is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.