It is rare to see map achieve such a great level of competitiveness with so few county splits. It’s clear that this team solicited a lot of input and was very thoughtful about how to use it. The personal statement makes a strong case against gerrymandering and is very honest about the struggles the pair had in trying to balance goals that were in tension.
Fair elections are a human and political right. Gerrymandering is an epidemic that causes elections to be rigged. Our map, made by Ashley Hamilton and Angela Natale, combats gerrymandering by focusing on population, continuity, and compactness.
By pursuing population equivalence, we ensure the people in each district have equal representative power at the federal level. Continuity combats isolation from the rest of the district, hopefully causing a homogeneous population within district lines. Compactness assures that all minorities and political parties are being represented.
These factors allow for people to have an equal chance at getting the representative they want elected.
Political parties should not be a factor in redistricting. Instead, redistricting should be focused on residency and demographics.
When asking others about our map, they were surprised about how much less gerrymandered it looks. They suggested that we make the districts closest in population and to not focus on competitiveness, because this would manipulate the people's vote. At the time, we were focusing mainly on competitiveness and took their advice.
When drawing the map we came across a few issues, particularly in the process of not splitting counties. We combated this by redrawing our map several times.