Olivia Choo (The Baldwin School, Montgomery County) - Honorable Mention, Eastern Youth

My name is Olivia Choo. I am a rising 8th grader at The Baldwin School. I was born in New York City, but moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia when I was 5. I am glad and grateful to have had this opportunity to participate in the Draw the Lines PA competition. When I’m not Drawing the Lines, I’m playing squash, skiing, crafting or recycling trash to build gadgets for my 5 year old sister.

Judges' Statement

There certainly are some funky shapes of districts in Olivia's maps, but she earned an honorable mention from our judges because she led the divsion with the creation of 12 competitive districts. Very well done! That she's still only in middle school shows she has a bright future as a mapper! 

Personal Statement

Competitive elections are really important to me because when I think of when I will be able to vote, to know that my vote may not count because of the district lines it is really disheartening. When drawing district lines while having competitive elections in mind, it ensures fair elections to a certain extent. One area of my map looks a little gerrymandered but it looks that was because I was trying to spread out the different parties throughout each district. A challenge I faced was I realized the urban areas typically had more Democrats while the rural areas had more Republicans, it was really hard to find the right balance. In the end it was impossible to ensure competitive elections in all districts but I ended up with 9 out of 17 districts with competitive elections. The 9 districts with competitive elections span from 0 to 6% swaying each way. Equal Population was also important to me because everyone having an even say is whats most fair. If one district had a lot more people than another the people in the more populated district would have less of a say than the people in the smaller district. I tried to keep the difference in people to 6 and I succeeded with that goal. I tried to limit the county splits as well but it was hard to keep the population difference to a minimal while maintaining competitive elections to have little to none county splits; I ended up with 26 county splits.