Allegheny College Senior Places Third in Statewide Draw the Lines Competition

For the second year in a row, Alexander Yarkosky, a senior from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, has won honors in the statewide competition for redrawing election district lines with the goal of making for fairer elections in the commonwealth.

Alex Yarkosky
Alex Yarkosky

In the most recent competition, Yarkosky placed third, and in 2019 he was awarded honorable mention for his work. The awards come from Draw the Lines, which is a civic education and engagement initiative sponsored by the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit good-government group based in Pennsylvania.

Yarkosky is majoring in computer science and political science. He has also been the judge of elections for North Strabane Township Precinct 1 since being elected to the post in 2017 in his hometown. “Most important, I have been redistricting states in order to find fairer lines since developing the hobby in October 2017,” he says.

The judges said of Yarkosky’s work: “A previous honoree, Alex rises to statewide notice with his best effort yet, a map that nails his primary goals of compactness and limiting splits. We were impressed and gratified by what Alex says in his personal statement about what it’s meant to him to take part in Draw the Lines and do something active to uphold democracy.”

“Alex is my top candidate for a citizens’ commission to redraw districts. It’s a fun — and immensely consequential — exercise that he’s become exceptionally good at. We’re proud of his accomplishments and pleased he’s again recognized for his abilities,” said Brian Harward, the Robert G. Seddig Chair in Political Science.

“Having entered multiple Draw the Lines contests now, I was glad to participate again and have this as a bit of normalcy in my life,” said Yarkosky, who is a Center for Political Participation fellow. “This map, like all maps that I have made and continue to make, is an effort, firstly, to educate myself on how maps are drawn and can be drawn. I also make maps for others to see at least what a new option to the maps we could have. Specifically for this map, I used the 2018 Census population figures as a way to look toward the future with the hope of having a fair State House map next decade.

“Ultimately,” he said, “I hope that this map is a small but important step in the direction of fairer maps on all levels throughout the nation and the commonwealth for generations to come.”