Middle-school students draw 'fair' PA Congressional District map

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania's current 7th Congressional district map critics claim it slices across our region to include areas were voters favor the GOP and exclude those who don't.

"So the Supreme Court said the map can't be drawn in that way, that districts need to be compact and contiguous," said Matt Kerbel of Villanova. "They need to encompass jurisdictions like cities and counties and not divide them up."

Congressional District Maps are a hot topic.

At Westtown School in Chester County, math students were challenged to use census data and mapping software to create compact more equitable Congressional districts.

"If a bunch of 8th graders did this I think it would be easy for anybody to do," said Alex McVicker, of Westtown School.

An eye-opener: the kids concluded whoever drew the current map was looking for political advantage.

"Still a bunch of people sitting in a dark room using map drawing equipment," said Jake Richards, of Westtown School. "It's cutthroat; a turf war."

Their teacher says the kids came to see gerrymandering as not just a Pennsylvania GOP issue.

"They saw this happening in both parties, showed them maps from other states where there is a democratic gerrymander as well as some states where there are republican Gerrymander," said Jon Kimmel, of Westtown School. "They thought neither party should be allowed to do that.

But why care about lines on a map?

"When it comes to Congress where you draw the lines determines potentially who holds the majority in Congress," said Kerbel. "That is what the fight is all about."

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