Image Credit: Chris Knight, Lancaster Online

You've done a map. Now make sure the people in power see it!

You put a lot of effort into drawing a voting map of Pennsylvania. So why not send it to your elected representatives who actually have a say in the real redistricting process? They should hear from you!

Once you've finished your map, it's quite simple:

Print a screenshot of your map

On PC's, look for the "PrtScr" key, usually on the top or right side of your keyboard. On Macs, press "Shift+Command+3". You've now copied your screen. Go into an image program (like Paint on a PC, or Paintbrush on Mac), and paste (CTRL+V, or Command+V) the image onto a blank canvas. Then crop the image to only your map.

From here, you can print out your map. We also recommend you print out your personal statement to include with your map. 

Find out who your state legislators are

The decision-makers on PA's congressional and legislative districts work in Harrisburg, in our General Assembly. So you want to find out who is your state representative and your state senator. You can look them up here. Just type in your address. 

Now, click on your state representative and state senator's links. On the left side, you'll see contact information for both their district office and their office at the state Capitol. We recommend sending them to their district offices.

Writing your letters

Your map should be accompanied by a letter to each of your representatives. Keep the letter short and sweet. If you are including your personal statement, refer them to that. Try something like this:

Dear Rep./Sen. [LAST NAME], 

My name is [your name], and I attend [name of school, your grade]. As a constituent of yours, I am proud to send you my map of how I think Pennsylvania's congressional voting districts should be drawn. I participated in a competition called Draw the Lines PA, which gives students and voters the chance to draw voting maps and then share them with others across the state. 

To me, the most important thing I learned when drawing a map is [INCLUDE SEVERAL SENTENCES THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE]. Therefore, I hope [INCLUDE AN "ASK" OF THEM. WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO ON THIS ISSUE? SOME EXAMPLES ARE: (1) SUPPORT REFORMING THE PROCESS, (2) SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, (3) SUPPORT COMPACT DISTRICTS, ETC.]

Please see my attached personal statement describing my map in more detail. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

[YOUR RETURN ADDRESS]

Drop it in the mail

It's really that simple. Get an envelope and address your letter to the district office address on the website we looked at earlier. Then get a stamp, and find the nearest mailbox. Done.

Congratulations, you've now played a vital role in America's democracy, the one of active citizen!