Committee of 70 CEO David Thornburgh to head new redistricting commission - Philly


Nov. 30, 2018 11:48 am

Committee of 70 CEO David Thornburgh to head new redistricting commission

Thornburgh, who runs the Philly-based good-government group, will oversee the 15-member Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission. Here's the role technology will play.

David Thornburgh (and Ben Franklin).

(Video by Draw the Lines PA)

In a bid to improve the state’s electoral district boundaries, Gov. Tom Wolf just instituted the Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission and appointed David Thornburgh, president and CEO of good government nonprofit Committee of Seventy, as chairman.

The 15-member commission, announced on Thursday through Executive Order 2018-07, will be tasked with reviewing examples of nonpartisan redistricting processes around the country, seeking input from the public around the principles that should guide a non-partisan redistricting process, and provide recommendations to state government on ways to make Pennsylvania’s map a fairer one.

“There has been significant bipartisan support for bringing more fairness to this process,” Wolf said. “The goal of this commission is to hear from experts and citizens about what can be done to make this process more fair. The redistricting process should ensure every citizen’s voice is heard in our democratic process.”

Currently, Pennsylvania uses an electoral map created by the U.S. Supreme Court, which in January declared the prior map to be so biased that it violated the state’s constitution. After the 2020 Census, the map will need to be redrawn.

Thornburgh, whose organization funded a redistricting education and engagement effort called Draw the Lines PA, said the digital tools from the effort (including an overhauled software platform from Azavea and a site built by P’unk Ave) will help empower more people to participate in the process.

“People all around the Commonwealth who have taken up the digital tools [are] perfect contributors to the process,” Thornburgh said. “They can talk not just in generalities but in facts. They can say, ‘When I sat down to fix the problem, here’s what I came up’ and in that sense it’s do-it-yourself democracy.”

Map-drawing tools aside, the core of the Draw the Lines is more about goals and values. The discussion elicited from the education effort will help the commission understand what values Pennsylvanians wish to see in the redistricting effort.


“That’s a big part of the process,” Thornburgh said. “It’s not just, ‘Here’s a tool, go crazy’: You have to put thought into it.”

One component of the Draw the Lines effort is a state-wide mapping competition. The deadline to enter the contest is Dec 14.

Organizations: Committee of Seventy
Already a member? Sign in here


How is Philly voter turnout doing? Here’s what one live projection says

What these 9 Philly tech companies are doing to help get out the vote

Today is the last day to register to vote in Pa.



Find entrepreneurial ‘collaboration and collision’ at 1776 at Ambler Yards

Center City, Philadelphia


Data Scientist

Apply Now
Center City, Philadelphia


Director of Advisory Services, Managed Markets

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Vistar Media

Project Manager

Apply Now

7 Philly-made digital tools you might want to check out before voting

These 14 Philly tech companies are giving time off for staffers to vote

The Clinton campaign rolled out an online voter registration tool for Pa. millennials



How UArts’ JavaScript certificate program helped this developer successfully change careers

Philadelphia, Pa


Event Sales Ambassador

Apply Now
Center City


Sales Quality & Training Manager

Apply Now
Conshohocken, Pa


Lead Software Engineer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!