Cartoon of Crayons drawing on a map.
Image Credit: Illustration by Rob Tornoe

A major goal of Draw the Lines is to put the free DistrictBuilder online mapping tool into the hands of as many secondary and college students across Pennsylvania as possible.

We’re pretty sure that most of these young people will find it far easier to draw a sound, constitutional election map than their parents and grandparents will.

After all, pointing, clicking, moving a mouse, creating something new and useful out of a sea of pixels – that’s what many of these young Americans have been doing since shortly after they graduated from the crib.

From the mouse of babes

And in that fact lies, we think, a powerful message for Pennsylvania’s young people.

It goes something like this:

“Yes, it’s true. We, your parents and grandparents, have screwed up this democracy thing pretty badly for you.  That’s the bad news – and we are very sorry about it.

“But here’s the good news:  The computing skills that for you are like mother’s milk … well, they’re actually one of the keys to fixing the mess we’ve made of things in Harrisburg and Washington.

“What if you can show, by the thousands, that fresh-faced youth can, without breaking a sweat, do a better job of election mapping than the self-interested politicians have been doing for decades?  In a single stroke, that will demolish all the myths, alibis and excuses the pols have been tossing around to thwart redistricting reform.”

Taming indifference, one click at a time

What an antidote to disillusionment and its offspring: apathy and cynicism.

Draw the Lines hopes to convey a message to Pennsylvania's idealistic young people - tweens, teens and Millenials alike:

Democracy is not broken beyond repair. The fix can begin now and begin with you.

You are the key to fixing the bug in the operating system of democracy.

We hope that message will be welcome, inspiring and powerful.