Ben Neithardt (West Chester East H.S.) - Honorable Mention, East Youth

About Ben: Hi! I'm a junior at West Chester East High School. I'm 17 years old and have loved maps and geography as long as I remember. I am really excited to have been given this opportunity to not only enjoy existing maps, but instead create my own!

Judges' statement

Ben must have found Draw the Lines on his own, as DTL did not do an event in his classroom. Therefore, he deserves a significant amount of credit for the quality map that he produced. His compactness score was the tops in the entire eastern high school division. Solid effort! 

Personal statement

For me, electoral districts make the most sense if they are concentrated around one specific area and are equally represented. For this map, my primary goal was to create districts of equal size (population wise). My secondary goal was to keep these districts compact and continuous, so that no districts would have extremely strange shapes. While I tried to mostly follow county lines, it often became difficult because I wanted to make sure that the districts were of equal population. When I could, I tried to combine Republican and Democratic areas for more contested elections. However, this was not my main focus.