Think you can do a better redistricting job than the PA Legislature? Enter the statewide competition sponsored by the nonpartisan Committee of Seventy and draw your own electoral lines with the same technology the experts use.
Fair Districts PA is partnering with the Committee of Seventy, an independent, nonpartisan advocate for better government, to spur public engagement with and understanding of Pennsylvania’s terribly dysfunctional system of electoral redistricting. We are encouraging our local and regional groups to help bring Draw the Lines (DTL), Seventy’s groundbreaking civic awareness program, to schools and communities across the Commonwealth.
Promoted as a statewide competition for students and the public, DTL couples a powerful mapping app with a comprehensive curriculum for middle and high school use. The app gives students and voters the same tools used by political pros to draw congressional and legislative districts. The accompanying curriculum meets state standards and will help to replace the loss of civics education as schools focus more closely on the subjects covered by standardized tests.
The goal is to get students and the public thinking about the fundamental role of voting in our democracy and how politicians undermine the democratic process by drawing district lines to serve their own rather than the people’s interest. All competitors are presented with the same challenge: Draw a valid congressional map of Pennsylvania and explain how it reflects your values. Educational and tutorial events throughout the state will explain the issues critical to redistricting reform and teach them how to use the map-drawing app.
DTL is a major public service initiative to foster a spirit of engagement and reinvigorate public participation in civic life. With two competitions per year over the next three years, Committee of Seventy hopes to get 10,000 valid maps. Students and the public will compete in three categories: school, higher ed and adult in three regions across the state. Winners earn cash prizes up to $5,000 as well as public recognition.
The next redistricting cycle starts in 2021. There will be many opportunities to advocate for reform between now and then. Here are some ideas already in the works:
Visit Draw the Lines website, read the contest rules and register to win cash prizes!