This map has some odd-shaped districts, but we give this team a lot of credit for finding ways to preserve communities of interest, which was their top priority. They also achieved 12 competitive districts. The mappers pointed out the difficulty of drawing a reasonable map when focusing heavily on one value. Their well-written personal statement, one of the best we read this time around, was eloquent in stating the interest that, as future voters, they hold in a fair, equitable election map.
The Pennsylvania redistricting issue holds the potential to either provide the foundation for the successful function of democratic voting or to hinder the voting rights of countless citizens through the devaluing of one's vote.
As future eligible voters, we hold a vested interest in ensuring that the districts for Pennsylvania are drawn to protect the equal value of all Pennsylvanian citizens' vote regardless of extraneous personal beliefs, characteristics, and party politics.
In order to achieve this level of rights protection, my team chose to hold contiguity, competitiveness, and communities of interest. These values limit the extent to which party politics can interfere with the redrawing of district lines as well as ensure that communities with varying geographical features and needs can vote to elect an official that can effectively meet those needs. We also chose to consider the importance of competitive elections within our map by ensuring that most districts have a close number of registered Democratic voters and Republican voters. We formed districts with a level of flexibility in the event that a migration of voters occurs.
We still took the importance of compact voting districts into account as other individuals viewing the map identified this as a widely held value. This effort proved to be our greatest challenge. Overall, we hoped to limit the degree to which extraneous demographics could affect the value of one' vote; however, party registrations could not be ignored.
We effectively created districts with a great degree of equality in the number of voters in the major parties, and these districts maintained communities of interest. However, in certain cases compactness suffered as a result. None of these cases resulted in a great deal of harm against the compactness of the districts; however, it still held an effect, causing great difficulty in drawing district lines. Thus, this was our greatest challenge.
Overall, we found that we were successful in achieving our primary goals. The majority of the district hold a great level of continuity, compactness, competitiveness, and maintain communities of interest where necessary. We experienced struggles in maintaining the compactness of districts in unison with competitiveness and communities of interest. However, we successfully circumvented these issues in most cases. Therefore, the voting rights of each Pennsylvania citizen are protected through the drawing of district lines on this map. No vote is valued more than another citizen's vote, and the effect of party politics on voting rights is mitigated, achieving the team's original goal.