A team of six Lebanon residents received an honorable mention in the Draw the Lines PA Congressional Mapping Competition.
The contest required participating teams and individuals to come up with a Pennsylvania congressional district map with 17 districts, paying mind to these judging criteria: number of districts, contiguity, equal population, competitiveness, majority-minority districts, compactness, population equivalence, and county splits.
There were a total of 341 entries between the West, Central, and East regions and the youth, higher education, and adult divisions.
Team Lebanon Six, made up of Faith Mumma, LeAnne Burchik, Michael Schroeder, Phil Stober, Lois Herr, and the team’s leader, Susan Wood, competed in the contest’s central region adult division.
The team’s districts were based primarily on competitive elections, compactness, and communities of interest. They were motivated by environmental concerns to redistrict in such a way that could work to mitigate the issues of water/air quality, energy impacts, and land use decisions without concern for the environment.
“We want well-drawn congressional districts to address climate change and the environment,” said the team’s personal statement. “Our map meets mapping criteria in a way that empowers environmental ‘communities of interest.’ High contiguity, competitiveness and compactness are strong. Voters can work together to propel change. “
The team produced this video explaining their map.
Maps were evaluated as such: 20% based on the look of the map, 30% based on map metrics, 30% based on personal statement and 20% based on outreach and dialogue. Judges gave extra consideration to entries built upon feedback and conversation.
“Susan Wood and her team, Phillip Stober, Lois Herr, LeAnne Burchik, Faith Mumma, Michael Schroeder, tried something distinctive and intriguing with their map – to see if they could create districts that would reflect a link between natural regions and legislative districts and empower environmental communities of interest,” said the Judges’ statement about the Lebanon Six.
“They structured their districts by environmental factors that would, as they wrote in their Personal Statement, enhance Pennsylvania’s ability to live up to the promise of Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, commonly known as the ‘Environmental Rights Amendment.'”
Entrants who placed or received honorable mentions in the Congressional Mapping Competition, including the Lebanon Six, have been invited to be honored at the statewide competition at the State Capitol in Harrisburg at a time TBD.
The team also has a public event planned at Lebanon Valley College at 6:30pm on Thursday September 26 in Zimmerman Recital Hall. The group hopes to involve the community in a computer simulation of how the Lebanon Six’s map would perform in an actual election, and representatives from Draw the Lines as well as other public officials are expected to attend.
Draw the Lines is a statewide initiative dedicated to informing Pennsylvanians about gerrymandering and political redistricting and encouraging them to work toward reform.