Op/Ed: Gerrymandering, who it affects and what you can do

By Nadya Dato, Special to The Times

Nadya Dato

I’ve always taken an interest in government. The rules and regulations of our society help us coexist, and I’ve always believed following these rules brought fairness and equality to everyone. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve come to realize that isn’t true – not only are the rules unfair, but some choose not to play by them.

These past few years, gerrymandering, the process of redrawing electoral maps to favor a given political party, has become a pressing issue throughout Pennsylvania. The state is one of the most gerrymandered in all of America, with Chester County topping the list of districts the practice has corrupted the most.

In 2018, the county’s electoral map had originally been drawn by Republican state legislators, making up a majority of the house, in their favor. The map was later ruled to be in violation of the state’s constitution for discriminating against Democrats. Since this ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court established a new neutral map that was used in the 2018 election. While the Court’s new map was more fair, the Pennsylvania State Legislature, which is majority Republican, still has the authority to create new maps in the future, which will undermine our democracy. There is still a significant amount of work to be done to elect a fair and independent redistricting commission to draw the state’s electoral maps for the future.

The current system we have in place encourages Republicans to benefit from elections in Chester County by diluting the Democratic presence and allowing the GOP to win key districts that they might otherwise lose.

Our democracy is at stake. Chester County needs someone who will fight for the true will of the people. Someone like Melissa Shusterman, who is avid for fair and non-manipulated elections. Helping to elect politicians like Melissa will elevate voices that are often silenced, and take a step toward redrawing electoral maps fairly.

A vote for Melissa is a vote for supporting redistricting reform. A vote for supporting minority voices. A vote for a more just and fair democracy. Vote for Melissa Shusterman.

Nadya Dato is a student at Phoenixville High School.

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