About Joe Winner:  I am writing in the first person about my school and my background.

Judges' statement

This second map by Andrew to be honored is more traditional and is perfectly fine, but has less creative sizzle. But the personal statement accompanying this map is so good and so wise we wanted everyone to see it – and to ponder it as a package with his other essay.

Endorsements: 5

Personal statement

I focus on what I believe to be the two most important things for a good, non-gerrymandered map: competitive and equal populated districts. I also have a third focus on retaining PA’S two majority-minority districts.

The two most popular forms of gerrymandering are packing and cracking. Packing concentrates voters of a certain affiliation into a district in order to limit their influence in other districts.  Cracking distributes voters of a certain affiliation into many different districts in order to limit their chances of amassing votes.

 This map is meant to utterly and completely destroy those forms and all forms of gerrymandering. I titled the map “Gerrymandering is Bad” for extra emphasis. I do not like gerrymandering is because it causes an unfair advantage to certain people. Representatives should, in a delegated system of government, should represent all people fairly, squarely, and equally, as noted by many famous documents by the founders of the nation, such as the U.S. Constitution. In fact, one reason the Americas decided to fight the British is because there should be “no taxation without representation.”

What gerrymandering does is disrupt the democratic process by giving AN unfair advantage to a certain political affiliation. This means that congressmen and congresswomen get to determine who their voters are, when it should be the voters determine who the representative is. The other issue is that voters on the negative side of gerrymandering can discover their vote no longer matters. And that should not be.  Everyone deserves a say in their government. As the Declaration of Independence stated: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed . . .""

Looking at Supreme Court cases such as Shaw v. Reno, in which the court states that majority-minority districts are constitutional and race redistricting must be scrutinized and comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Reynold v. Sims, in which the court states that in the election of a person into the state legislature, the electoral districts must be roughly equal in population, I decided the appropriate focus for me was having two majority-minority districts and equal population in each district. I do believe majority-minority districts are appropriate due to different beliefs between races despite the same political party affiliation and that every vote should be weighted the same. My last focus for this map was competitiveness so that  representatives must consider opposing viewpoints when forming their proposals.

Even non-partisan redistricting still has some sort of bias. But there is nothing perfect. I must continue making maps in order to get better faster and to destroy gerrymandering because it increases political polarization and is unfair, and that will hurt America in the long run. And no one would like that I am sure.

As this is my final submission, I would also like to thank drawthelines.org for this wonderful opportunity. I have been very passionate about gerrymandering ever since I learned about it. I learned that its effects could be so large and, especially with all the conflict going on, I think gerrymandering will only make the tension between parties worse.

 I don't want to see American politics become polarized to see people screaming at each other instead of engaging in civil discourse. Where compromise is seen as “caving-in” or “surrendering” to the other party. Where being friends with someone from the other party becomes a taboo. If it goes too far, what would happen? It is scary to know.

 That is why I take this responsibility upon myself to try and help stop gerrymandering, as I do believe it will only make America worse.

 This activity was very fun and I loved every amount of time I spent on it. Thank you again, Draw the Lines. I wish you will never stop spreading your message because you definitely inspired me and I guarantee that message is spreading like wildfire.