HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Some of Pennsylvania’s most powerful elected officials plan to vote Thursday on the first draft of new district maps for the state House and Senate, a once-in-a-decade process that will reverberate politically for years to come.

The Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s meeting in Harrisburg concerns the preliminary district maps for 203 House seats and 50 in the Senate.

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The panel consists of the Republican and Democratic floor leaders in both chambers, with the fifth and possibly deciding vote from Mark Nordenberg, the former University of Pittsburgh chancellor chosen as chairman by the Democratic majority state Supreme Court.

If they approve the maps, that will trigger a period of public comment and potential legal challenges.

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For the past several decades, the post-census realignment has been controlled by Republicans, and they have generally maintained majority control in both chambers. The GOP currently holds the House, 113-90, as well as the Senate, 29-21.

Pennsylvania is arguably the most politically divided state in the nation, with the two major parties often splitting statewide votes. The 2020 presidential contest was razor close, with Joe Biden defeating Donald Trump in the state by some 80,000 votes.

The primary election is currently scheduled for May 17, and it’s possible it may be delayed.

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