Matt’s entry stood out for its technical excellence and the high number of compact districts he achieved (47.6%), which was his stated goal. He also had high scores for contiguity (18 out of 18 districts), a Constitutionally required value. Matt’s approach was mathematical in nature, and he demonstrated the importance of technical considerations in creating fair maps.
My two main goals include contiguity and compactness. These goals are the most important to prove that a map is not gerrymandered in my opinion. If either is not present, objections to the map will occur, and it may even need to be redrawn.
Contiguity was one of my top priorities because there is no reason to split up a district into two separate pieces. It will negatively impact compactness and create additional reason for debate on the fairness of the map because if there is no connection, a party must have drawn the map in their favor. My map utilizes all contiguous districts that have a large connection. No district utilizes a road or small piece of land as a connection to another part of the district. Having contiguity and unified districts allow for a fair map for all parties.
Also, my main goal was compactness. I feel that this topic is most important because districts should not be connected by a road or small piece of land. This connection both demonstrates a party’s gerrymandering and is an unethical act against the democratic process. The layperson can even calculate the compactness of the district, and he or she could provide evidence for or against the map. When drawing these districts, I attempted to create the largest area possible with the least perimeter since the Polsby-Popper score is four pi times the area divided by the perimeter squared. In this system, one is the highest possible compactness, so the smaller the perimeter, the more compact the district is. District 10 is my most compact district at 63.8% with an overall compactness score of 47.6%.
It was difficult to make all my districts compact and within the target population. My personal goal was to keep the average above 45% compactness with all my districts over 30%. I was able to complete this goal after a great deal of trading different counties among districts until each was as compact as I could make them.
I currently attend Gettysburg College and am enrolled in a First Year Seminar, The Mathematics of Voting. We are completing this for a class assignment and the competition. Before beginning, we discussed the different possible goals and how to fulfill them. I received input on my map from my professor.
Overall, this mapping project allowed me to better understand the difficulty of forming compact and contiguous districts.