Working America’s Canvassing for Fair Elections in Pennsylvania Proves Successful
Working America’s effort on 2015 Supreme Court elections is now making voting in Pennsylvania fairer for everyone.
Three years ago, Working America laid the groundwork for a recent victory for fair elections in Pennsylvania. In 2015, after speaking with tens of thousands of voters, Working America’s conversations contributed to victories for three pro-working-family candidates for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
On Feb. 5 of this year, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a decision made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which requires lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional districts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Republicans drew congressional district lines to be biased toward their party’s candidates at the expense of Democrats.
Republicans control 13 out of 18 total congressional seats in the state. With new districts drawn equitably, Democrats and Republicans will be on a much more even electoral playing field. The change could position Democrats to gain as many as three seats, which would help their effort to gain overall control of the House of Representatives in midterm elections this fall.
In Pennsylvania, Supreme Court judges are elected by a statewide ballot, and in 2015 there were three openings on the court. That year, Working America spoke with more than 43,000 voters in working-class neighborhoods about the importance of these elections. We heard overwhelming support for fair-minded, independent judges who would protect people from partisan games.
Throughout the campaign, Working America’s endorsed candidates, Kevin Dougherty, David Wecht and Christine Donohue, were loud and clear about their opposition to partisan gerrymandering. Thanks in part to Working America’s efforts across the state, voters got the message and turned out to vote for the candidates who supported fairly drawn districts.
Ultimately, voters in Pennsylvania sent all three Working America-endorsed candidates to the Supreme Court. These justices were decisive in the recent ruling that ordered Republicans to redraw their lopsided districts. Because Working America is on the ground year-round, we were able to hear voters’ concerns and give them the information they needed to make the right decision about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court elections.
Now, Republicans have to draw fair districts and get approval from Gov. Tom Wolf. If the Republicans can’t agree on fairly drawn districts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will intervene and draw the districts themselves. When it comes time for Pennsylvanians to vote in the midterm elections this November, they’ll be able to do so in districts where candidates are competing on even playing fields. Elections have consequences, and in this case, electing Supreme Court Justices in 2015 is now making voting in Pennsylvania fairer for everyone.