We are excited to partner with Dave's Redistricting App so Pennsylvanians can try their hand at drawing state legislative maps.

Perhaps you've already drawn your congressional boundaries for PA; maybe you even won some money. Maybe your class is focusing on state government. Or you are just hardcore.  Whatever the reason, you're ready to tackle a new challenge: drawing PA's legislative districts.

You can draw a district map either for the 50-seat state Senate, or the 203-seat state House. Or both. 

Dave's Redistricting App is free to use. Sign up and log in here.   DRA is a bit different from DistrictBuilder, the DTL mapping platform.  So you're going to have to do some different things to ensure that your map gets properly submitted to our competitions. So ... please, please keep reading.

Getting started with your map

Once you've logged into Dave's Redistricing App, click the blue "New Map" button (top right) to get started. First, name your map. So that we know you mean to enter our competition, start the name of your map with "DTL." Then, add something that identifies the map as yours.

For example, Jane could name her new map "DTL - Jane's compact districts."

Then choose your state (PA, of course). 

For "Data source," you can choose between 2010 voting districts (the file the state used for 2011 redistricting), or 2016 Census Bureau block groups (updated counts of the state mid-decade). Your preference.

For "Districts Count," type in either 50 (if you are doing the state Senate) or 203 (for state House). 

Scroll to the very bottom and click "Apply." Your blank map is set up and ready to get started.

Mapping instructions

The user guide you'll want to refer to is right on the DRA site (not here on the Draw the Lines PA site). From the DRA site, just select the Help button (top right corner) for tips and instructions how to draw maps there. Spend five minutes perusing this before you get started. It will greatly help you complete your map.

If you have any issues with your map, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at info@drawthelinespa.org.

Submitting your map to the DTL competition

Draw the Lines has a separate competition for state legislative maps. DTL will award two (2) $1,000 grand prizes and (2) $500 2nd place prizes in the state legislative competition, one each for the State House and State Senate categories. 

In Dave's, when you have completed your map, click on the Share Map button at the top right. Copy the URL.

You will then return to this page, and enter your details in this form.

How will your map be judged?

Just as in the DTL congressional competition, you will declare which values you tried to represent in your map. 

DRA doesn't measure all of the values that DistrictBuilder does, but it does measure the following, which can be translated to DTL's values. 

  • Deviation from target population (like equal population). A note on this.. the federal standard for state legislative districts being valid with regards to equal population is much less strict than on congressional maps. If each district's total population count is within +/- 5% of the target number, your district is valid. In other words, federal case law allows for a 10% population deviation. 
  • Number of majority-minority districts 
  • Partisan distribution (like competitiveness) - If you choose competitive elections as a value you are trying to maximize, your map will be judged based on how many 'Even' or 'Fair' districts you've created. If you are trying to maximize competitiveness, the more you have here, the better.
  • Compactness (DRA uses a different formula)

You will also be judged on your personal statement and civic engagement, just as in the congressional competition.

See the competition rules for more details.