Congressional maps are enacted by the State General Assembly. The Governor can veto the plans.
The General Assembly can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in either chamber.
The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission draws the state legislative districts. It is a five-member commission. Legislative majority and minority leaders either serve on the Commission or appoint a member in their place. The four original members name a fifth, who will be the chair. If the fifth member is not appointed within 45 days, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court selects the fifth member by a majority vote. The chairman of the Commission must be a citizen of the state, but cannot be a local, state, or federal official who gets paid for their services.
Before 90 days pass since either all the Commissioners are appointed or the census data becomes available, whichever is later, the Commission submits an initial district map to an elections officer. A 30-day public commentary period follows, during which the Commission can edit the map. If there are edits, the Commission has 30 days after the filing of exceptions to submit a new plan to the elections officer. Should no exceptions be made in this period, or in the case that they have been made and have been acted upon, the newest plan becomes law. Any citizen may appeal to the State Supreme Court within 30 days after the maps are sent to the elections officer to argue the new plan is illegal. If the new map is determined to be illegal, the Supreme Court instructs the Commission to redraw the maps. The redistricting plan becomes law once the Court decides an appeal or when 30 days end without an appeal being filed. The Commission may pass maps with a majority vote.
Challenges to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.
Source: Pa. Const. art. II, § 17.
Ballot Measure Process
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Only the Pennsylvania General Assembly may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.
Source: Pa. Const. art. XI.
In The News
- Pa. Supreme Court Picks Former Pitt Chancellor to Chair Powerful Redistricting Commission, Spotlight PA (5/3/21)
- PA Supreme Court to Decide Redistricting Commission Chair, Local 21 News (5/1/21)
- Pennsylvania Population Lag Costs State a US House Seat, AP (4/26/21)
- Pennsylvania Expected to Lose Congressional District, WGAL (4/15/21)
- Lawmakers Look to Limit Redistricting Chair’s Political Ties, AP (3/23/21)
- Pennsylvania's 2022 Primary Election could be Postponed due to Census Delay, The Daily Pennsylvanian (3/4/21)
- Constitutional Amendment on Districts for PA. Court Elections Shelved... for now, The Times (2/17/21)
- Redistricting Rulings were Pivotal to Democrats' Control of Congress, The Supreme Courts (1/11/21)
- Pennsylvania's Population Stagnates as Reapportionment Nears, The Center Square (12/23/20)
- Pennsylvania Republicans Held on to the State Legislature. But Democrats Still Feel Good about Redistricting. Here's Why, The Philadelphia Inquirer (11/23/20)
- Redistricting Reform Bill Moved to Senate Floor, My Ches Co (9/25/20)
- Lawmakers' Power to Redraw PA.'s Political Maps Could be more Limited, The Philadelphia Inquirer (9/22/20)
- Fewer Pennsylvanians are Participating in the Census than a Decade Ago, WSKG (9/3/20)
- Census Countdown is on, But a Lot of Pennsylvanians Haven't Been Counted, Penn Live (8/1/20)
- Senate Approves Measure for Constitutional Amendment to Create Judicial Districts, Lancaster Online (7/16/20)
- Lawmakers Will Rule Again Over Redrawing of PA. Political Boundaries, but Critics Aren't Giving Up, Spotlight PA (7/8/20)
- Harrisburg Lawmakers to Blame for Failure to End Gerrymandering of State Legislative Maps, Group Leader Says, The Morning Call (6/26/20)
- Pa. approaching a legislative crossroad, Penn Live/The Patriot-News (5/23/20)
- Lawmakers try to alter voter-approved redistricting reforms, AP (3/5/20)
- More states to use redistricting reforms after 2020 census, AP (3/5/20)
- Americans continue to vote with their feet towards low-tax states, The Hill (3/3/20)
- State sued over counting inmates in legislative districts, AP (2/27/20)
- Pennsylvania state senators lead bipartisan effort to reform state's redistricting, The Center Square (2/24/20)
- ‘It’s not red. It’s not blue. It’s just fair.’ Redistricting reform back in spotlight in Pa., Centre Daily (1/30/20)