Editorial: Postpone the primary

If mem­bers of the Pennsylvania Le­gis­lature want to look in the mir­ror and not be ashamed, they must, with­in the next week or so, send to Gov. Corbett a bill that post­pones the primary elec­tion.

Why? Be­cause the sched­uled April 24 primary does not meet con­sti­tu­tion­al muster. The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court has es­sen­tially deemed the five-mem­ber Le­gis­lat­ive Re­ap­por­tion­ment Com­mis­sion to be in­com­pet­ent.

The re­ap­por­tion­ment pan­el, com­prised of the Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers of the state House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives and Sen­ate and a chair­man se­lec­ted by that quar­tet, was sup­posed to up­date House and Sen­ate dis­trict bound­ar­ies based on 2010 census data — without ig­nor­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. The pan­el was sup­posed to come up with dis­tricts that were about equal in size without un­ne­ces­sar­ily split­ting up town­ships, bor­oughs and cit­ies.

The com­mis­sion had those census fig­ures for al­most a year and plenty of time to come up with com­mon-sense maps that re­spec­ted the “one man, one vote” rule, yet it waited un­til the last minute to re­lease its plan. The pan­el blew it and now it’s tak­ing an­oth­er crack at de­vis­ing a reas­on­able plan, but even if it re­leases a mod­i­fied plan this week, there’s not enough time for pub­lic re­view and pos­sible court ac­tion.

In­stead of us­ing out­dated census data from 2001 for an April 24 primary, the state should do re­dis­trict­ing the cor­rect way and delay its le­gis­lat­ive and pres­id­en­tial primar­ies un­til early June.

Be­sides, pres­id­en­tial primar­ies are con­duc­ted so much earli­er than ne­ces­sary. The Jan. 10 New Hamp­shire primary was held more than 53 weeks be­fore next Janu­ary’s pres­id­en­tial in­aug­ur­a­tion, for in­stance. The demo­crat­ic pro­cess should nev­er be rushed. ••

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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