Central Bucks School District’s Voting Regions Maps Hearing Proceeds To Court After Starts, Stops and Several Bites at the Apple

The CBSD Fair Votes map incorporates voter roll data, in addition to population, and provides voters with the ability to vote for a school board director every other year.
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CBSD Fair Votes and the Central Bucks School District will each present their proposed school board regions voting map to Judge Cheryl Lynne Austin on Thursday.

The map the district is presenting is one of four that was presented to the public during a public meeting overseen by a quickly formed Central Bucks Voting Regions Committee.

The new proposal from the school district does not take voter rolls into consideration, “packs” Democrats, and skews six regions that are heavily Republican.

The court date has been a long time coming.

Nearly 10 months ago, the school district hoped to have a new voting regions map approved even though it would have disenfranchised approximately 6,000 voters from being able to cast a timely ballot.

Currently, Central Bucks has nine regions, each represented by a school board director elected every four years, to represent constituents. A new regions map is required to be created and approved by the court every ten years following the release of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

READ: Central Bucks School District Embarrassed Itself with Show Trial of ACLU LGBTQ Discrimination Complaint

Tracy Suits, a former Central Bucks School Board Director, learned of the district’s new region map in November. She requested the board consider another option that did not include obvious manipulations to favor Republicans however her suggestion was ignored.

Suits, along with a group of concerned citizens, formed Central Bucks Fair Votes and gathered signatures on a petition sufficient to enable the group to submit another map to the court for consideration.

The district, after realizing the passage of their gerrymandered map might be in jeopardy, requested court continuances on multiple occasions and ultimately convinced the court they needed input from the public prior to the hearing.

The request was granted by Judge Austin of Montgomery County who was selected to hear the case following a full bench recusal by the Bucks County Court.

When issued, Austin’s order precluded the school district from submitting a map other than what had been originally provided to the court. In a surprise move, the district was granted permission to present another regions proposal on September 19.

READ: Maps Presented To Central Bucks Voting Region Committee Fall Short And Lack Transparency

According to the docket, the school district had requested yet another continuance on September 18 that was denied.

More importantly, the district’s map allows Central Bucks taxpayers to vote for representation on the school board only once every four years while the CBSD Fair Districts map affords voters the ability to cast a ballot every other year.

“Our map was designed particularly to represent the entire district,” said Connor O’Hanlon who presented the CBSD Fair Maps vote at the public meeting. “Our map is fair. We didn’t gerrymander it to help get six Democrats in there. We made it fair so that there could be a five to four, there could be a four to five. You can get Independents in there. It makes Independent voices heard.”

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.