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Instead of using outdated census data from 2001 for an April 24 primary, the state should do redistricting the correct way and delay its legislative and presidential primaries until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