The Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted 3-2 to count tens of thousands of state prisoners as residents of their most recent home, not the location of the prison.
The two commission Democrats voted for the proposal while the two Republicans voted against it. Commission chairman Mark Nordenberg, a Democrat appointed by the Democratic-controlled Supreme Court, cast the deciding vote for the proposal.
“This practice disproportionately impacted communities of color and stole their political power while falsely inflating districts that just happened to have a prison within their boundaries,” said Free the Ballot statewide organizer Monica Banks.
Pennsylvania becomes the 12th state, all run by Democrats, to have laws requiring that incarcerated people be counted at their home addresses for the purposes of drawing legislative district lines.
“We commend chair Mark Nordenberg on his thoughtful and thorough analysis of the issue and to his ongoing commitment to transparency, fairness and equity in the legislative redistricting process,” said Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.