Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has redrawn the map of the state's congressional districts, overturning a Republican gerrymander that's been used in the past three congressional elections.
The new map comes after weeks of political and legal fighting following the state high court's ruling that the map adopted in 2011 was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said the state department will focus on supporting counties and candidates as they prepare for elections under the new districts. It ordered a new map drawn before primary elections on May 15.
The submitted maps varied significantly in terms of partisan advantage, though overall they all made districts more compact, and to varying degrees they divided fewer municipalities.
It replaces the previous map drawn in 2011, which they deemed unconstitutional.
Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy, both Republicans, also noted the court didn't have enough time to evaluate the proposals, which were still coming in late Thursday night.
In their original ruling, the justices gave the GOP-controlled legislature and Wolf, a Democrat, a tight timeframe to reach consensus on a new map through legislation.
"Since over 85 percent of our elections are not competitive in the general election, how we choose to divide up our constituencies often can be more important than who wins at the ballot box", said Persily in a 2016 video about the consequences of redistricting. Pennsylvania is often listed as one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, and its congressional map features a number of bizarrely drawn boundaries whose only practical goal is to keep Republicans in power.
"The 2010 map split communities in a way that disadvantaged voters", Yudichak said.
In addition to part of Centre County, the 15th District will now include all or part of Clearfield, Cambria, Cameron, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion, Armstrong, Butler and IN counties.
19, 2018, redrew the congressional district surrounding Franklin County. Republicans have promised that they will take the issue to Federal Court.
Republican legislators say they'll file a Federal Court challenge to any map produced by the State Supreme Court.
The court notes in the order that all participants in the case had the opportunity to submit proposals and feedback, and it said that its plan "draws heavily upon the submissions".
President Trump urged Pennsylvania's GOP Tuesday morning to fight the new map in court with urgency.
GOP leaders have said the lack of guidance is the reason they didn't start drawing a map in earnest until 48 hours before it was due - a decision that left them no time to get a vote from the Legislature. Since the Supreme Court's decision was based entirely on state law, Republicans seem unlikely to succeed, but you never know. Tearing it up could boost Democrats nationally in their quest to capture control of the U.S. House and dramatically change the state's predominantly Republican, all-male delegation.
But Yudichak said the new map is an improvement.
Information for this article was contributed by Marc Levy of The Associated Press and by Jonathan Lai and Liz Navratil of The Philadelphia Inquirer.