Pengzhen Wang (Gettysburg College) - Honorable Mention, West Higher Ed

Judges' Statement

We liked the logic and creativity exhibited in both Penghzen’s map and personal statement. We were also intrigued by the unique focus on creating districts that had population equivalence based on age. Penghzen said that mixing age groups may result in a more comprehensive result in election outcomes. The personal statement also observed that young people vote at lower rates than older people and that as a practical matter this lack of participation lowers the voting population.

Endorsements: 1

Personal statement

For my map, I would like all the districts to have the similar population and every district to be connected to itself. Beyond those two values, I would like the voters in all districts to have similar age population groups. The reason is that I believe people in different ages might have different ideas about things they are voting for. This might bring a more comprehensive result for all districts as it represents ideas from different age groups of people.

Another consideration is that currently, the data shows young adults tend not to participate in voting. As a result, if a district has too many young adults, the actual voting population is lower than we expect as many of those might not vote. It turns out, even though districts are issued with equal population, the actual population participating among different districts will be different. This would potentially break the equal population value among different districts. One repercussion of this potentially unequal population is that you might be gerrymandering unintentionally.

This is based on the cases where you think the population of Republicans and Democrats is balanced based on the indicators, but you are partial to one party as the actual population of voters from another party is lower than the value that is shown on the indicator. For example, the ratio on the indicator between two parties are 50 to 50 in one district, but the actual ratio might be 47 to 20. Even though this is caused by unintentional behavior, it is not desirable.