Dave’s Redistricting App has changed the DTL game completely. Though similar enough on the surface, it holds one key difference – allowing the user to view layers/labels for cities and townships. Such knowledge lets my never-ending representation-themed quest in DTL competitions to continue. To reiterate, I have always found the idea of making districts geographically “representative” to be the most important aspect of any redistricting plan. That means keeping communities intact as much as possible because elected officials should come from and embody unbroken communities to the largest extent possible.
Utilizing intrinsic political geography creates competition where appropriate; it provides safe districts where the constituency reflects it; It forms appropriate levels of majority-minority districts; and it should reflect the state’s partisanship as a whole. It may not always achieve the best compactness ratios, but the maps don’t lie: township, city, county, and even state lines at times look weird. That doesn’t mean our drawings should hurt any community nor decrease their political efficacy or power. We are doing a disservice to the people of Pennsylvania by attempting to supersede that baked-in political geography. So, my goal for both State House and Senate is simple - build upon the principles that have always driven my submissions, with the most important unit of measure being the inability to break up any counties, cities, or townships unless absolutely necessary. Those necessary breaks happen, as they often do, in instances where cities or counties are too large to encompass only one district.
To spend a moment discussing other metrics, it is worth noting that all districts fall within the 5% threshold. The only cities broken up are larger than 63K and the only townships split are Upper Gwynedd and Mannheim due to issues of adjacency to other, larger areas. 15/67 counties remain full intact, with some of the largest counties remaining fully self-contained within multiple districts (e.g. Chester or Delaware). By my estimations of PVI scores, about 44 districts are competitive – more than enough to foster competition where natural competition exists.
As a final point to hit on about not splitting up communities of interest, only 10 communities are split. That’s it. The eight biggest cities in the state and those aforementioned townships. Everywhere else, lines correspond to pre-made constituencies. Some proruptions occur and throw off compactness, though it still reaches 65. But it is a map to represent the interests of all Pennsylvanians.