Pennsylvania’s new congressional map will make its grand debut on midterm election day this Nov. 6, and Penn's campus is officially part of a new district. Here’s what you need to know about the new districts and how it will affect the election.
What happened to the old map?
In January, the Pa. Supreme Court declared the state’s congressional map unconstitutional after a challenge by Democratic plaintiffs who argued they were discriminated against based on the map's gerrymandering. The challenge alleged their freedom of expression was violated by the congressional map drawn in 2011. In all three elections since the map was drawn, Republicans won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional seats even though the party received no more than 55 percent of the popular vote, according to WHYY.
For instance, in 2016 Pennsylvanian congressional Democrats received 45.70 percent of the popular vote to the Republicans' 53.91 percent. However, Republicans won 72 percent of the state's 18 seats while the Democrats won only 28 percent.
What does the new map look like?
The new map was released in February 2018, and former Penn Law professor Nathaniel Persily helped draw the map. Political observers largely greeted the map as positive news for Democrats.
The Washington Post said Democrats could see a net gain of three or four seats in November’s midterm elections, which would provide a crucial boost in the party’s bid to reclaim control of the House of Representatives.
What does it mean for Penn voters?
The updated map has major ramifications for Penn, as students and faculty will now cast their votes in the 3rd Congressional District instead of the 2nd. In the old 2011 map, the City of Philadelphia was almost entirely encompassed in the 2nd district, which previously voted Democratically in the past three elections.
Although Penn's district number may have changed, the political composition of the new district is expected to remain heavily blue. According to data collected by the New York Times, the old 2nd district voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 84 points, and the new 3rd voted for Clinton by 84 points.