East Marlborough >> Carol Kuniholm, leader of Fair Districts, PA, and Eric Roe, Republican state representative of District 158 collaborated on HB 722, which calls for a change to the State Constitution with the formation of an Independent Citizens Commission responsible for drawing new voting district boundary lines. They will speak about gerrymandering at an event at Unionville High School auditorium on May 11 at 7 p.m.
District boundaries are determined by politicians, resulting in the twists and turns of voting districts and the manipulation of electoral boundaries so as to favor one party or class. Fair Districts PA (FDPA), a nonpartisan and nonpolitical group, promotes reform of the redistricting process. They hope to reinstitute an incentive for compromise in gridlocked legislatures and empower voters once again.
As the leader of FDPA, Carol Kuniholm has an encyclopedic knowledge of gerrymandering as well as a thoughtful manner of speaking that enables her audience to readily understand the problems and their solutions.
“When party leaders are allowed to manipulate district lines to benefit themselves, we the people lose our ability to hold government accountable,” Kuniholm said. “No other major democracy permits legislators to draw the lines that govern their own elections. We are working hard to educate the public about this deep conflict of interest and to show the harm done to democracy, our communities and our economy through the practice of partisan gerrymandering”.
Eric Roe, who has been interested in this reform prior to his election in 2017, thoroughly reviewed provisions and background, giving attentive consideration to this bill.
“America’s Founding Fathers and Mothers deliberately created a system of government that values the rights of individuals over those of institutions – a bold departure from the British government,” Roe said. “Likewise, HB 722 would hand redistricting powers to ‘We the People’. It incorporates many of the founders’ trademarks, too: checks and balances, active civic participation, sustainability, transparency and fairness. As the Republican prime sponsor of this bill, I’d like to thank Democratic prime sponsor, Rep. Steve Samuelson, and FDPA for working with me. I’m pleased that my first bill introduction could be a joint, bipartisan effort that reaches across the aisle and transcends party lines”.