Exercise uses imagination to demystify gerrymandering
Takes the intimidation factor out of gerrymandering by making it like finding dragons in clouds overhead. Materials include a teaching guide and student handout with the outline of some of Pennsylvania's most notorious gerrymanders.
Two-part lesson guides students through the basics of a census, why it is necessary, and whether people feel comfortable participating in it. Includes video resources. Includes reflective writing and group work.
Episode 1: Dude, Who Stole My Seat? Jason Altmire Hunts Answers
Jason Altmire was the chief victim of the Pennsylvania’s Great Gerrymander of 2011. In this episode, he explains how he lost a seat in Congress after three terms through diabolically subtle line-drawing, aimed at setting him up to lose his own party’s primary. He also lays out vividly how gerrymandering is causing the slow death of the center in our national politics.
Episode 2 — For the Love of Mike: Bryan Miller Fights Back
Gerrymanders aren’t just wacky lines on a map. By empowering ideologues and special interests, they thwart the commonsense solutions to tough issues that are favored by strong majorities of Americans. Gun violence protection is one such issue. Meet Bryan Miller, whose quest to redeem the murder of his brother Mike led him to big successes in one state capitol, but defeats and frustration in another. The difference between the two buildings, just a hundred miles apart: gerrymandering.
Episode 3: From Ratf***ed to Unrigged: David Daley Discovers Hope
David Daley wrote the book on how gerrymandering undermines democracy. He gave it a profane title and a depressing epilogue tinged with despair about America’s future. He’s got a new book now. In it, he joyfully details how the final chapter of his earlier book is being proved wrong. Let Daley take you on a journey across America to meet the everyday heroes whose savvy, DIY activism is spreading the fire of reform.
Episode 4 — Gerrymander Never Knew What Hit It: Ben Geffen Saves America
OK, we exaggerate somewhat. But Ben Geffen was a key player on the legal team that won the first court case that overturned for good a notorious 2011 gerrymander. Geffen’s tale takes you behind closed doors to learn how a band of determined citizens and public-interest lawyers stunned political insiders. They used a novel legal theory to convince the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to toss out the state’s notorious, “Donald Duck kicks Goofy” congressional map. The new map put in its place then fueled the “blue wave” of the 2018 mid-terms.
Episode 5 - From Snowball to Avalanche: Carol Kuniholm Steps Up
When Carol Kuniholm stood up in a Philadelphia church on frigid evening in January 2017, she didn’t feel she was about to launch a movement. She just felt deep stage fright. Then, she started talking. And, with every word she told that packed sanctuary, the gerrymander got a little less secure in his lair. If you can slay the gerrymander in one of America’s most reform-allergic states, you can do it anywhere. Kuniholm hasn’t finished the quest yet, but she’s not done trying.
Episode 6 — And a Child Shall Lead Them: Kyle Hynes Schools His Elders
There's never been a competition quite like it before. When Draw the Lines PA set out to prove that regular folks could draw election maps better than the political pros, many scoffed. Other shrugged. They hadn’t met Kyle Hynes, a 15-year-old from the place known as Happy Valley, who knows more about the Voting Rights Act than plenty of congresspeople. Hynes won $5,000 for his congressional map of Pennsylvania, one of 318 entered in the biggest public mapping contest in the nation’s history. He’s a walking, talking rebuke to the notion that only expert partisans can draw election maps.
When Eric Stahl of Washington, D.C., sat down with DistrictBuilder to create his DTL map, he already knew a bunch about redistricting. But he still faced some surprisingly hard choices as he tried to craft a map that favored the compactness goal.
ICYMI: That didn't take long; partisan squabbling over new redistricting panel begins
Last Wednesday, Gov. Wolf named David Thornburgh, CEO of the Committee of Seventy and leader of Draw the Lines PA, to head a new advisory panel tasked with suggesting redistricting reforms. The commission is already caught in a partisan crossfire, as Republican leaders take aim.
The Mappers' Tale: The Waxenberg Family of Lords Valley
Michael Waxenberg of Pike County got really interested in gerrymandering during the Pennsylvania court case last winter. He was the head geek in his family, but when he enlisted his daughters to help do a Draw the Lines map, one of them asked the genius question that showed the Waxenbergs the path to their map.
Students will learn to read and analyze a secondary source on Pennsylvania’s voting lines, think critically about motivations and incentives when legislators draw the maps, simulate the legislative and commission process and map their own.
Mariam Sayeed believes voters' choices on who should represent our communities become crucial when it comes to decisions about education, health care and safety. She's begun to understand how these decisions are affected by gerrymandering.
A 1989 Time magazine cover depicting George Washington with a tear running down his cheek, headlined "Is Government Dead?" helped inspire Professor Jill Family to play a leading role in Draw the Lines.
Ruling in N.C. case throws election into confusion
North Carolina and Pennsylvania are both up there in the listing of "America's worst gerrymanders." Now, North Carolina is following Pennsylvania's example in having its congressional map ruled illegal shortly before an election.
By using Draw The Lines PA, you are entering into a contract with Committee of Seventy, a non-profit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, headquartered at 123 S. Broad Street. Under that contract, you must abide by the terms outlined in this document.
Dr. Myra Gehret Forrest, a former school district superintendent, believes that the practice of gerrymandering is not just unfair but 'un-American.' She's backing Draw the Lines because she believes education is the key to a solution.
We at Draw the Lines PA take your privacy seriously. To that end, Draw the Lines PA and its parent organization, Committee of Seventy in Philadelphia, promise we will never sell your personal information, such as your name or email address, to anyone. Ever.
Draw the Lines presented at Gannon University about the solution to gerrymandering and efforts to draw fair and more representative voting districts. The discussion was led by Rachel Colker, Western Regional Coordinator of DTL, and Carol Kuniholm of Fair Districts PA.
Draw the Lines PA joined the Carnegie Library in leading an interactive and informational discussion of gerrymandering. We covered the history of gerrymandering, the state of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, explained the mission of Draw the Lines, and offered connections to reform efforts.
The DTL team joined Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to show the engaged audience how DTL works and a test drive to our free mapping tool. Join Draw the Lines to compete regionally and statewide for big prizes!
Sept. 17 was Constitution Day and Draw the Lines PA honored the nation's founding charter by joining with UPenn professor Ken Stief to talk about how gerrymandering subverts the Framers' vision. We let folks test drive our DistrictBuilder tool and get ready to draw their own maps.
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All for All Summit
All for All Summit
Draw the Lines PA joined an interactive gathering on the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship and the local economy. The panels discussed the intersection of immigrant inclusion with local politics, the arts, and more.
Panel members stressed the importance of collaboration in helping underrepresented populations and immigrants strengthen their voices in redistricting and other electoral issues.
All for All Summit
A woman tries out Draw the Lines PA's mapping tool.
Wilkes University students at Eat Pizza, Save Democracy
Teacher Happy Hour
A few southeast PA teachers joined Draw the Lines PA to learn how to take part in the Mapping Competition (where mapmakers can win up to $5,000) and for a happy hour and tutorial on using the free platform and curriculum in their classroom.
Come for fun, food and information about how to slay the gerrymander. Play games like the Put PA Back Together Challenge (shown) that teach how bad maps happen and how to fix them. Test drive our mapping tool and get ready to compete for prizes of up to $5,000.
Lunch & Learn: Draw the Lines PA | Civics Education and Digital Mapping
Draw the lines looks forward to demonstrating our mapping platform, called DistrictBuilder, and a custom curriculum designed by PA teachers, in-line with the PA Standards Aligned System. Join us to learn how to #slaythegerrymander!
Lawyer Lawrence Husick is a public speaker for Fair Districts PA.
Lawrence Kusick speaks at Story Slam
Lawrence Kusick speaks at Story Slam
Raise a Glass and Draw the Lines Happy Hour for Democracy
Joined by a passionate group of attendees, the Draw the Lines team was pleased to explain how current redistricting processes perpetuates gerrymandering, and how PA's citizens themselves can #slaythegerrymander. Led by Project Manager, Chris Satullo, attendees enjoyed drinks, food and interactive activities at Knob Hall Winery in Gettysburg, PA over a stimulating discussion about DTL's newly launched mapping initiative and contest. We thank everyone who attended for their engagement and willingness to try our free mapping tool, DistrictBuilder.
A lively crowd gathered at the Station Tap House to be reassured that the battle to slay the gerrymander is far from over - and to get introduced to a new weapon in the fight, the DistrictBuilder digital mapping tool. And an astonishing time was turned in by a team that pulled off the Put PA Back Together challenge.
Join Draw the Lines Team, including Chris Satullo, for food, drinks, and friendly competition to #slaythegerrymander!
Get ready to use the same mapping tools politicians use to draw election maps in our statewide competition. Learn how you could win up to $5,000 for drawing a map (in 3 different competition categories: High School, College, and Adult). This is a nonpartisan civic engagement effort that welcomes individuals from anywhere along the political spectrum!