Matt made our choice for regional champion a tough one. There’s a lot to like here in this second go-round from one of last fall’s honorable mention mappers. The map has a great compactness score and his essay is excellent, showing this math major’s mastery of what the map metrics mean. You could say he had us at "hello," or at least at the moment he used the term “Polsby-Popper” correctly. His many endorsements demonstrate excellent engagement.
Spring 2019 Map
As with my previous map last fall, my goals are still compactness and contiguity. With that, I was able to ensure that all 17 districts were connected, and not just by a road or small landmark.
Districts are clearly unfair if a district is not whole or broken up into pieces. This is the reason that both compactness and contiguity are important factors that lead to a fair map.
Compactness relies on contiguity because there will be a greater perimeter for the same area if a district is broken up. The Polsby-Popper score includes perimeter as a factor in the equation of four pi times district area divided by the squared perimeter. With this equation, I was attempting to have the highest possible score of one or 100 percent.
I took a mathematical approach when creating my map. I feel that today's maps are being subjectively created to favor one party either by grouping certain types of people or splitting them between districts. Mathematics allows for a fair and objective way to measure a map's ability to serve the people. All my districts are above 30 percent compact, which was my goal, with my highest being 58.6% in District 2.
When creating my districts, I was able to make them as compact as possible by attempting to follow the county lines and make a smooth perimeter.
Gerrymandering is such a large problem in today's elections which ends up negatively impacting the voters by preventing democracy from working how it should. I feel that my map will provide a fair representation for voters because of the high compactness score. Relying on the compactness metric is an objective way to create the districts of Pennsylvania.
I am a rising sophomore at Gettysburg College, and for my first-year seminar, The Mathematics of Voting, we submitted maps to the competition. We previously learned about all the goals and calculations that go into the examination of a map and were introduced to the DistrictBuilder software.
In the end, creating fair districts allows the democratic process to be fulfilled and prevents gerrymandering. I feel that I successfully designed a map that would be fair for both voters and politicians alike.