This team crafted a very good personal statement with a crisp explanation of their goals. We were impressed by how much feedback they solicited on their map and how they incorporated it into the final product, which features a superb score on equal population and 10 competitive elections. Perhaps the map is not the prettiest but their statement explains why that happened and how they made the choices they did.
Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, as well as in other states, is a huge problem that must be controlled. Redistricting done by ordinary students, adults, and other advocates displays an interest in democracy and fairness in our elections.
For these reasons, our entry, Maddie and Abby's Map, has an overall focus on population equivalence, competitiveness, and contiguity. Obviously contiguity is important, because it allows homogeneous groups of people to be grouped together in elections. Furthermore, population equivalence allows each district to have a voice that is just as likely to be heard.
However, it was difficult to get the population equivalence under 2,000 because our primary focus was competitive elections.
Our pursuit of this goal resulted in Republicans having a majority in eight districts, Democrats having a majority in eight, and one district being exactly tied, with both Democrats and Republicans each having 34.1% of registered voters. Our map valued allowing each voice to be heard equally.
We got a lot of feedback on our map from teachers, parents, and fellow students. For example, a fellow student said that we should try harder to keep all parts of counties within the same district. This feedback allowed us to make small tweaks to better our map, and we are thankful for the advice we received.
Our largest setback was creating a map that tried to balance multiple values. We didn't want one value to dilute the others, so although our map does not have the best population equivalence or the most perfect system to ensure a competitive Pennsylvania, we think that our system allows for overall fairness in elections. Fair elections in Pennsylvania are important to us, and we hope that our map reflects our values.