Here's what gerrymandering means for Pa.

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The Republican gerrymandering of Pennsylvania's congressional districts got the flood-prone residents of Johnstown Keith Rofthus of Sewickley as their congressman. Mr. Rofthus, along with Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair, voted against relief for Hurricane Sandy victims.

Giddy with their gerrymandering successes across the country, which enabled them to retain control of the House of Representatives, the Republican National Committee recently endorsed a plan to rig the 2016 presidential election by changing the Electoral College vote allocation system in certain states.

Under the current system, all states with the exception of Maine and Nebraska award all of their electoral college votes to the winner of the popular vote in their state. The Republicans are now targeting a handful of states which traditionally vote Democratic in presidential elections and are currently controlled by Republican governors and or state legislatures to change their electoral vote system to be allocated by congressional district results rather than by the state as a whole. Of course, they are not proposing this change for a large red state like Texas, but Pennsylvania is a prime target.

On Jan. 14 seven Republican state representatives introduced a bill to make this vote-rigging scheme a reality in Pennsylvania. Under their bill, the winner of the Pennsylvania popular vote would be guaranteed only two of the state's 20 electoral college votes while the balance of the votes would be allocated based on which presidential candidate wins the popular vote in each of our (gerrymandered) congressional districts. Not surprisingly, Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi support this plan.

One would have hoped that after the 2012 presidential election, the Republicans would have directed their efforts toward developing policies that would strengthen and enrich our country and appeal to the diverse electorate we have become. Instead they are focused on rigging the next election. Let us not forget that Pennsylvania's onerous voter ID law was merely postponed. Voter apathy in 2010 got us Gov. Corbett and a state Legislature obsessed with vote suppression and manipulation. We should demand better from our state government.

MINDY FLEISHMAN
Squirrel Hill


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