We're roaming PA again, making maps and mischief

DTL Staff| March 6th, 2019

Poli Sci student Amanda Patino with her Personal PA map. | Image Credit: DTL Staff

Draw the Lines PA's spring mapping competition is gaining momentum. We're holding events all over the state to explain gerrymandering, show the fun side of fixing politics - and give you a look at our cool digital mapping tool.


Connecting the dots at the Exton branch of the Chester County Library, with Fair Districts PA. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Image Credit: DTL Staff
Talking to others is a key ingredient of drawing a strong redistricting map. (At West Chester County Fair District Games for Democracy/Mapathon at West Chester Library.) | Image Credit: DTL Staff
'Playing' with the Flashes of Insights cards highlights the competing goals at play in effective redistricting. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Connecting the yellow and green dots illustrates "cracking and packing" -- techniques that can lead to unfair gerrymandering. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
At Biddle's Escape in Pittsburgh, Will Anderson, small business owner, B-PEP Planning Council, PA Workforce & Development Committee and guest speaker at the event. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Marisa Nowicki, DTL Western PA regional winner in adult category (more about her in on the website) speaks to the crowd about her mapping journey and encouraged others to participate. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Ben Stern (right), Coro Fellow working with DTL, demonstrates DistrictBuilder to an interested attendee. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Event emcee Evelynn Hawkins, political activist and long-time local radio personality for many years on WDUQ, and now WZUM Pittsburgh Jazz. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Western Region Coordinator Rachel Colker. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
A West Chester University student attempts to reassemble Pennsylvania from a puzzle cut into the shapes of its highly gerrymandered districts, which were invalidated. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
DTL Chief of Staff Justin Villere with students at West Chester University. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
DTL Staff
Political science students at West Chester University.
Image Credit: DTL Staff
A 'Personal Pennsylvania.' | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Poli Sci student Amanda Patino with her Personal PA map. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
Students at West Chester University discuss what their priorities will be when they draw their maps. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
DTL Chief of Staff Justin Villere meets with students at West Chester University. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
At a Mapathon at the Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown, aspiring mappers try to put Pennsylvania back together again. Not an easy task when the pieces are badly gerrymandered voting districts. | Image Credit: DTL
Project Director Chris Satullo, left, demonstrates Pottstown residents Luke Johnson and Rose Raymond. | Image Credit: DTL Staff
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The slideshow above shows you scenes from four recent events:

  • A Games for Democracy event at the Exton branch of the Chester County Library on March 3, co-sponsored with the county chapter of Fair Districts PA.
  • A similar event, enhanced by some craft beer, at Biddle's Escape in Pittsburgh on March 1.
  • A day-long visit to the campus of West Chester University on Feb. 28, with the able assistance of political science professor John Kennedy.
  • A Gerrymandering 101 presentation at the west campus of Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown.

The same day we visited the West Chester campus, we  alsoheld a lively Mapathon with residents of the Kendal retirement community in Kennett Square (where no photos were allowed).

We also accepted an invitation to trek up the Northeast Extension to Allentown on one recent night to talk about our mapping competition to volunteers from the Lehigh Valley chapter of Fair Districts PA.

We've got tons more public events, classroom visits and online mapping demos coming up in future weeks.  Check out our Events page to see the ones nearest where you live.

If you'd like to partner with us on holding an event to help your organization or your neighbors learn more about how gerrymandering damages democracy and what you can do to fix it, we want to hear from you.

Use Help organize a DTL event to let us know what you have in mind. 

Generally, DTL events come in three flavors (though we can mix and match the flavors, or even go full Neapolitan if you like):

  • Gerrymandering 101 - A primer on the problem, its causes, impacts and possible solutions, with some interactive activities.
  • Games for Democracy - A lively event that tries to engage and teach about the issue through fun, hands-on activities.
  • DTL Mapathon - For people who get the issue and are ready to do something about it.  Namely, helping us prove that the people of Pennsylvania are ready, willing and able to draw election maps - and will draw better maps than the politicians do.  We'll demo our free mapping tool, DistrictBuilder, and get you a head start on building your own 17-district congressional map of our state. You can then enter your map (or maps, there's no limit) in our spring competition, with its $34,000 in prizes.

Deadline for entering your map is May 31.  Check out the competition rules before starting your map.