Solutions: Draw the Lines PA

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Gerrymandering is when politicians manipulate voting district boundaries to help favor one party over the other. There are many different organizations that help prevent this from happening, but Draw the Lines PA is making an impact on equaling out the boundaries. 

Draw the Lines PA is a division of the Committee of Seventy, “a nonpartisan civic leadership organization. Committee of 70 has many sections that advance representative, ethical and effective government in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. They function through citizen engagement and public policy advocacy.” More specifically, Draw the Lines PA is a statewide civic education and engagement initiative for Pennsylanians to draw election maps. 

Justin Villere is the Chief of Staff for Draw the Lines PA. Villere started in October of 2016 and his main goal is to work with his colleagues to get people educated on gerrymandering and to teach them how they can help, even on a small scale. 

Draw the Lines PA educates the public by attending community events and working with schools. They seek to explain what the issue is and why it should matter to them. 

Draw the Lines PA has a free digital mapping platform. This allows for people to draw the political lines that they believe best fit Pennsylvania. Their goal behind the digital map is to get people involved in the process. They also offer a chance at winning a cash prize of $5,000 for those who submit their maps. They want to get as many people drawing maps as they can. 

Amanda Hall from Allentown, P.a., had no political background but noticed that her town was split up into three different sections. At only 28-years-old, Amanda redrew her town’s political boundaries and presented it to her town. When the new boundaries came out, it was evident that they did not listen to her at all. Amanda then brought it to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and she won. This resulted in the state having to redraw the lines again. 

Long term, Villere is satisfied with the impact the organization has made over the years. Draw the Lines PA has engaged over 8,000 Pennsylvanians with just their mapping competition alone. Five thousand of those being students who now have a long term interest in democracy in Pennsylvania. 

Draw the Lines PA believes that they are creating an understanding about gerrymandering for Pennsylvanians that was not there before. They are successful in drawing a connection between people’s personal beliefs and the political lines. Whether it is student debt, health care, or other issues that matter to the people, Draw the Lines PA has been effective in creating that connection.

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ABOUT

Youth Voters Unite is a transmedia storytelling project produced by senior Communication majors at Cabrini University. Students in Senior Convergence: Media for Social Justice are reporting this academic year on the voting process and voting justice topics. Their goal is to educate youth voters on the importance of engaging in the political process and claiming their right to shape their own future. 

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Cabrini University
610 King of Prussia Rd.
Radnor, Pa. 19087
youthvotersunite@gmail.com

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