Democracy in action

Dear editor:

Pennsylvania has 18 congressional districts in the National House of Representatives. During the most recent election in November of 2012, throughout all 18 districts, according to the results certified by the Pennsylvania Department of State, the total votes cast for Democrats was 2,793,538 while the total votes cast for Republicans was 2,710,070. A simple arithmetic calculation shows that Democrats throughout the state received 83,468 more votes than their Republican opponents. How is it that the Pennsylvania delegation in the House is 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats?

The answer is simple. Our Republican controlled State House and Senate redrew the 18 congressional districts after the most recent national census in 2010. They redrew the districts to create “safe Republican districts”. The practice is called gerrymandering and has always been used by politicians for this purpose.

How does this represent democracy? How does this match with the one man one vote principal outlined in our constitution?

Currently our Republican controlled state government is considering a move to divide our electoral votes in the same manner. The result in the most recent election under these proposed rules would have meant that President Obama would have most likely won only 5 of the commonwealth’s 18 electoral votes even though he received 2,990,274 votes or 52.1% of the vote in PA. Mitt Romney received 2,680,434 votes or 46.7% of the popular vote in PA and have most likely received 13 Electoral College votes.

As bad as this sounds to those who believe in the will of the people, consider how the previous election would have ended had all the battleground states that the president won decided to change their allocation of electoral votes in the same manner. In all likelihood, Mitt Romney who received 60,928,981 votes or 47.1% of the popular vote, would have defeated a president who received 65,899,625 votes of 51.02% of the popular vote.

I am very concerned and worried about the partisan, bitter nature of our politics these days. It seems as though the minority party is trying every tactic possible to “fix” elections instead of worrying about how they can help to solve the problems we face as a nation and thus regain the confidence of the American people. Republican controlled state government is trying to change the winner take all Electoral College allocation to a loser take most principle. The conservatives in our national are inciting fear that the president and the Democratic Party want to take away your guns. A much greater concern I think is that the Republican Party has committed itself to taking away our votes.


Elaine M. Wiehagen