Students Submissions & Winning Submissions

We are pleased to provide access to all 55 student submissions.  We were impressed by the thoughtfulness and diligence that all the student teams put into creating their plans. However, as with any competition, there are winners. We also also pleased to announce the winning submissions. Congratulations to all for showing how average people can draw redistricting plans that compare favorably to the existing plans on numerous criteria.


Legislative redistricting is a process undertaken, usually as a response to a national census, to redraw electoral districts to reflect changes in population growth patterns. In Virginia, this responsibility is designated by statute to the legislature, and historically has been completed by the political party in power. Not unlike states with similar systems, this process has led to increased gerrymandering, and has allowed political parties to increase their majorities effectively limiting competition—the foundation of a healthy functioning democracy—and causing partisan gridlock. The Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University and the Public Mapping Project are sponsoring the Virginia College and University Legislative Redistricting Competition to help educate students and the public about the process of redistricting.

Who is eligible?

Teams representing Virginia colleges and universities are eligible to enter the competition. The suggested team size is 8-10 students, and every team must have a faculty sponsor.

Participating schools (faculty sponsor and e-mail contact):

 Christopher Newport University
 College of William & Mary (1)        College of William & Mary (2)
 George Mason University
 James Madison University (1)
 James Madison University (2)
 Longwood University
 University of Mary Washington
 Norfolk State University
 Old Dominion University
 University of Richmond
 Radford University
 Roanoke College
 University of Virginia (1)
 University of Virginia (2)
 Virginia Commonwealth University
Brennan Kraxberger
John McGlennon and Ron Rapoport
Rebecca Hulse
Gabe Hudson
Tim LaPira
Chris John Koski
Mary Carver
Chad Murphy
Rudolph Wilson
Tom Chapman
Dan Palazzolo
Todd Makse
Heath Brown
Charles Kromkowski
Chris Gist
J. Paul Brooks and

The Challenge

Each team will be tasked with drawing legislative lines for the Virginia House of Delegates, Senate of Virginia, and federal congressional lines for the House of Representatives. Using the Public Mapping Project software, teams will produce for each body a redistricting plan with maps and a narrative explanation. The competition has two divisions and teams may enter maps into one or both divisions. Division 1 maps must address the criteria of contiguity, equipopulation, the federal Voting Rights Act, communities of interest that are respectful of existing political subdivisions, compactness, electoral competition; and representational fairness. Division 2 maps must address the criteria of contiguity, equipopulation, the federal Voting Rights Act, communities of interest that are respectful of existing political subdivisions, and compactness but are prohibited from addressing electoral competition and representational fairness. Please see the Competition Procedures and Rules for details.

The Prize

The competition will be judged by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. Prizes will be awarded for each division as follows: House of Delegates - First place = $2,000 and second place = $1,000; Senate of Virginia - First place = $1,500 and second place = $750, Congressional districts - First place = $1,000 and second place = $500. All non-winning teams that submit final maps and narrative explanations will receive honorary awards of $200 per team. Faculty sponsors will receive an honorarium of $500 per team. All prizes and honorarium are contingent upon the submission of a final map and a detailed narrative explaining how the plan satisfies the competition criteria.

How are Teams Organized?

A faculty sponsor must organize each team. Teams will officially enter the competition by e-mailing the name(s) and contact information of the faculty sponsor(s) and a tentative roster of participating students to Steven Jones ( no later than December 15, 2010.

Key Dates

 December 15, 2010
 Final date for teams to enter competition (minimum requirement is faculty sponsor).
 January 15, 2011  Software becomes available to teams for training and practice.
 February 10, 2011 (approximate date)  Federal census data becomes available to teams and competition begins.
 March 10, 2011 (approximate date)
 Deadline for teams to submit final maps.
 Late March, 2011 (TBD)
 Teams present their maps at event in Richmond and winners are announced.

Software User Guide

Click here for instructions on using the mapping software.

More Information and Media Contacts

For general information about the competition and teams, contact Professor Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University ( For information about the software, redistricting, and the Public Mapping Project, contact Professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University (


William and Mary News & Events.

JMU's student newspaper, The Breeze.

Charlottesville Daily Progress article about the competition.

Virginian-Pilot editorial about the competition.

Virginian-Pilot editorial about redistricting.

Redistricting Information

Competition Procedures and Rules.

A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting, 2010 Edition, by the Brennen Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Virginia Division of Legislative Services Redistricting Page.

Virginia redistricting analysis by UVA's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Policy.

Press Releases

Competition judges announced.

Redistricting competition announced.