Rosa-Maria Diez (Drexel Univ., Philadelphia) - Honorable Mention, Eastern Higher Ed

About Rosa-Maria: I am a 4th year civil engineering student at Drexel University from Connecticut.

Judges' Statement

Rosa-Maria does a fantastic job meeting the metrics that she strove for (11 competitive elections, well above average, and a 2,600 population equivalence score, in top quarter of all entries). Further, this doesn't impact scores or the overall look of her map. 

Personal Statement

My goal in redistricting Pennsylvania’s district was to create districts which would give an equal voice to minorities, political party and the general population. For this reason, the key values were competitiveness, population equivalence and majority-minority.

Population equivalence was the foundation of the new districts in order to give each district equal vote in every election. Ensuring that each district had a balanced population allows for a more competitive election regardless of party because no district is more favorable to win.

Competitiveness however is an important factor to consider for each district. By making districts competitive, it gives equal opportunity for either side to win a district. This was an important value for the new districts because any candidate should have an opportunity to win regardless of their political party. If a candidate wins a district it would be based on their platform rather than whether they are a Democrat or Republican. Majority-minority also plays a factor for giving an equal voice for every citizen voting in an election. It is important that every citizen have a vote regardless of race and that their vote is meaningful and impactful in an election.

One of the challenges that was faced when redistricting, was the question of whether to split counties between districts. For this map, it was decided that competitiveness and population equivalence came first in making a new district. If there was an opportunity not to split a county then it was taken but if the population difference was too high between two districts, then the county was split in order to maintain an equal population distribution.

Overall, the map achieved makes an even playing field for all citizens and political parties in order to create a just political environment based on the population’s vote.