Polling Location Change:
Attention Upper Hanover-1 voters: You should have received a notification from Montgomery County Voter Services that your polling location has moved from St. Paul's Church, 1244 St. Pauls Church Road, to the Upper Perkiomen School District Education Center, 2229 East Buck Road in Upper Hanover Township.
This only applies to voters in precinct (or area) one in Upper Hanover Township. Upper Hanover-2 voters will continue to cast their ballots at New Goschenhoppen Church and Upper Hanover-3 voters will continue to cast theirs at Palm Schwenkfelder Church.
Redistricting Map Approved:
Last Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court gave unanimous approval of a revised redistricting plan that will put the residents of the Upper Perkiomen Valley (and some other areas in the Commonwealth) in unchartered waters.
The residents of the Upper Perkiomen School District will now be split among three different state legislative districts and be represented by three different representatives.
Marlborough Township and Green Lane Borough will continue to be in the 147th District, currently represented by Republican Marcy Toepel; Hereford Township will remain in the 134th District, currently represented by Republican Ryan Mackenzie; and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill, along with Upper Hanover Township, have been stripped from the 135th and shifted to the 131st District currently represented by Republican Justin Simmons.
While the new districts will remain for the rest of the decade, the people in office could change when the new maps take effect with the 2014 elections.
Last year, the court rejected the original maps drawn by the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission. They agreed with challengers that political considerations had unduly split municipalities and produced weirdly shaped districts.
That resulted in last year’s legislative election being based on maps drawn in 2001 and based on the 2000 census – a Constitutional no-no. The districts and election should have been based on the most current census: 2010.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille opined that the court’s review of the latest maps “discloses no overt instance of bizarrely shaped district” that would confirm whether or not the maps were drawn in a political exercise geared to put voter blocs together to maximize a partisan outcome. No offense judge, but politicians on both sides of the aisle have been doing this since the system began.
In a recent press release expressing disappointment in the decision, The League of Women’s Voters reported that there is nothing in current law that prevents creation of plans that consider such political factors – provided that such consideration does not “override politically neutral constitutional requirements.” These requirements include population equality, contiguity, compactness and respect for the integrity of political subdivisions.
The league goes on to suggest that the Constitution should be changed to place the redistricting process in the hands of a nonpartisan commission using guidelines that put the interests of the voter’s first.
Hmm, put the interests of the voters first. Not a bad idea.