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Disappointed In Barletta

October 10, 2018

Editor: It is not widely known that Lou Barletta, who is challenging Bob Casey for the U.S. Senate, attempted to reverse a decision that established fair geographic boundaries for congressional elections in Pennsylvania. This is the history. Every 10 years, after the census, the Pennsylvania Legislature draws geographic boundaries for the congressional districts in Pennsylvania. Using sophisticated computer techniques in this last configuration, maps were designed in a partisan manner, gerrymandered, to favor one political party. In 2017, I joined the League of Women Voters and 17 Pennsylvania voters in a lawsuit to challenge Pennsylvania’s unfairly gerrymandered geographic districts. The lawsuit was finally decided in our favor by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The decision was based on Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution providing for “free and equal” elections. Our opponents, leadership from our state Legislature, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Alito rejected the appeal. A new map was drawn just before the Pennsylvania primary. In a last-ditch effort, after decisions by the Pennsylvania and U.S. Supreme Court, Barletta and several other Pennsylvania Congressmen appealed to another federal court again to force Pennsylvania to return to an unjust gerrymandered map, a map the courts had just rejected as unfair. Not surprisingly, the federal court also rejected the plea by Barletta and fortunately we have fair geographic boundaries for this upcoming Pennsylvania congressional election. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, lawsuits by Barletta and the leadership of the legislature cost Pennsylvania taxpayers over $1.5 million. Our lawsuit was not Republican or Democrat. It was a question off fairness. I share my disappointment in Mr. Barletta because his challenge was baseless and designed to upend the principle of voter fairness to return partisan gerrymandering to Pennsylvania’s Congressional elections. Robert Smith BEAR CREEK

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