Vivian Chau (Manheim Township H.S., Lancaster County) - Honorable Mention, East Youth

About Vivian: I am currently a junior at Manheim Township High School.

Judges' statement

Vivian accomplished impressive metrics, achieving her goal with a map of 11 competitive districts and only 38 county splits. She also demonstrated an understanding of the different trade-offs that go into drawing a complete map.

Endorsements: 1

Personal statement

My interest in the redistributing issue developed after I learned about gerrymandering in my IB History class. The map I created was for my assignment packet that had subtopics on political beliefs, congressional districts, local elections, and etc. I thought it was interesting that districts could be manipulated in a way that could help a party win. Additionally, my teacher stated many people who've tried drawing congressional districts for Pennsylvania as part of the Draw the Lines program have a difficult time doing it; this challenge drove my interest and excitement into submitting my DTL map in this contest.

The values I prioritized were Equal Population, Competition, Minority Representation, and Party Advantage (Democrat). Equal Population was my top value because I wanted each person to be counted as one vote. Competition is important, because while I do want some sort of Party Advantage, I wanted the other political parties to have a chance to win by voting. Minority Representation was also a key value I prioritized because I did not want to exclude representation of other races in the districts; this representation allows minorities to have an impact on their beliefs and their votes. Party Advantage also was a key value in my map because I wanted Democrats to have a greater chance in winning; however, Party Advantage was more of a bonus to my map because I wanted my congressional map to be as fair and equal as it could be.

In October in my history class, Mr. Justin Villere, the Chief of Staff from Draw the Lines, came to my class and gave some input on how to create the congressional maps. He showed my class different types of maps as examples. I took his advice and tried to base my map on the requirements he had stated in class while implementing my own key values and beliefs,

A challenge that I encountered in drawing my map was my attempt in including all my key values in a district. For example, I tried to implement competition and minority representation in a given district, but I later figured that it could not be done. My solution was to have equal population and competition in one district and minority representation and equal population in another. I also had to continuously fix the borders of the congressional districts to meet the requirements that were stated in the rules.