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Redistricting leaves questions about representation

Congressman Glenn GT Thompson, whose sprawling district includes Warren County, has said he has one of the safest congressional districts in Pennsylvania.

That could change — the safe part and the Warren County part — depending on the redistricting process mandated by the constitution.

Pennsylvania is likely to lose one of its 18 seats in Congress based on the new census data.

According to the Constitution, the census is to be used to determine the representation of each state.

This year, Pennsylvania will be redrawing district maps at the state and federal level. According to Fair Districts PA, Congressional redistricting in the state is handled like any other state legislative issue.

Fair Districts and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania held a virtual town hall meeting – Countdown to 2021 Redistricting: Northwest PA wants Fair Districts — Tuesday to help clarify the situation.

According to representatives of the League of Women Voters, the loss of a seat would likely increase the size of rural districts — where populations are shrinking.

The geography of the district that includes Warren County will change. The county could become part of an even larger geographic district that sprawls east and south including many rural counties and probably including Thompson’s home in Bellefonte. Or, the county could become part of a district that includes Erie County and more populous counties to the southwest.

Fair Districts PA is inviting people who are interested in the redistricting process to visit drawthelinespa.org, which allows one to sign up for the DistrictBuilder app.

There, users may subdivide Pennsylvania into Congressional districts, state Senate districts, and state House districts however they see fit.

Drawthelines allows builders to separate the state into the existing number of districts — 18.

The results of the 2020 census are expected to result in the state having one less representative.

Anyone interested in trying their hands at crafting a 17-district Pennsylvania would have to approximate, crafting fairly equivalent districts and leaving one out. The program’s calculations that count down to the right number of people in a district wouldn’t be as helpful. The user would have to remember to end up with districts that have about 6 percent more people in them.

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