The competition challenges Pennsylvania students and residents of all ages to redraw voting maps to reduce gerrymandering.
Dhamankar and Wu’s team, the Main Line Drawers, was specifically recognized by the competition judges for its level of public engagement and outreach, as well as legislative district compactness and continuity.
“Wow. This team’s engagement with the public was absolutely fabulous. They went over and above in doing such an ambitious survey of people’s opinions on mapping. Their level of outreach was far more than anybody else’s and their statement does a good job of laying it all out. The map has a good compactness score with few split counties,” the judges statement read.
Dinniman, who hosted Dhamankar in the state Capitol in Harrisburg and discussed the development of his map in detail, said he was impressed with the team’s use of open-source software. Dinniman said it added a level of transparency that would encourage voters to regain trust in the system.
“Mihir and Kevin not only drew an award-winning redistricting map, but they also did so in a way that brings a new level of openness and transparency to the process,” Dinniman said. “As Mihir himself said to me, ‘People should know why the map looks the way it does.’ I congratulate them on their achievement and thank them for sharing it with us.”
In its first year, Draw the Lines PA has registered over 2,600 mappers across the commonwealth, awarding more than $70,000 in prize money. The organization aims for the contest to put vetted and fair information on gerrymandering and redistricting into the hands of students and voters.