It’s a cartographer contest! The Fair Maps Missouri Coalition has put together a competition for Missourians to draw their own congressional and legislative maps in a redistricting rencounter.
The Fair Maps MO 2021 Mapping Contest is open to individuals or groups. Participants will use a map-drawing tool hosted by the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (MGGG) academic team at Tufts University with support from experts at other institutions of higher learning.
Maps will be judged by academics based on partisan fairness, the preservation of communities, adherence to state rules, and encouraging competitive elections.
The top three maps in the state House, state Senate, and congressional categories will be awarded cash prizes. The first-place winners will receive $3,500, with second and third place receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.
The submitted maps will be public and will be presented before the House and Senate commissions and the Congressional Redistricting Committee in November.
“The tools for drawing and evaluating district plans are more accessible and powerful than ever before. We are really excited to see the plans that people put together,” Fair Maps Missouri spokesman Sean Soendker Nicholson told The Missouri Times. “The maps that get drawn in the next few months will determine the resources and representation our communities get for an entire decade. It’s so important that we get it right as a state, and crowdsourcing good ideas is part of the solution.”
According to the apportionment results released earlier this year, Missouri is set to retain its eight congressional seats while it lost one after the 2010 census.
The state’s population grew to exceed 6 million, per the 2020 data, with more people living in larger communities while smaller communities shrink.
The legislative redistricting process is being handled by two bipartisan commissions, one for each chamber. The 40-member commissions were appointed by Gov. Mike Parson earlier this year and convened for the first time in August for an organizational meeting.
The commissions will meet in Springfield Monday to hear public testimony, heading to Kansas City Tuesday and St. Louis on Wednesday.
The commissions have until Dec. 23 to submit a tentative plan for both chambers with the Secretary of State’s Office and will then have until Jan. 23 to finalize their work.
Cameron Gerber studied journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, he earned an associate’s degree from State Fair Community College. Cameron is a native of Eldon, Missouri.
Contact Cameron at email@example.com.