Once every ten years (in accordance with the United States Constitution), lawmakers from across the state redraw Florida’s boundary lines for equal representation (aka, Redistricting). Well, it has been ten years, and it’s that time again.
Districts are redrawn with the goal to accommodate population changes and ensure that the population within these districts are as equal in number as possible. Don’t let the simplicity of this sentence fool you though. There are many factors that can affect how these district lines are drawn.
For example, flsenate.gov explains that the “Florida Constitution requires that districts be contiguous. A district is contiguous if all of its territory is in actual contact, uninterrupted by the territory of another district. Contact at a corner or right angle is insufficient, but territory may cross bodies of water. The Constitution allows state legislative districts to overlap, either partially or entirely.”
To add to the complexity of the matter, “in November 2010, the voters added Amendments 5 and 6 to the Florida Constitution. These Amendments prohibit line-drawing that intentionally favors or disfavors a political party or an incumbent. The Amendments also afford protection to racial and language minorities. Districts may not be drawn (1) with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process; or (2) to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice. Finally, unless it would conflict with the standards described above, the Amendments require that district populations be as nearly equal as practicable, and that districts be compact and, where feasible, follow existing political and geographical boundaries.”
To help Florida voters remain informed about the process, as well as have a voice in the matter of Redistricting, the Florida House of Representatives is using www.floridaredistricting.org. The Florida Senate is also providing updates at www.flsenate.gov/redistricting. These websites provide updates, videos, tools, resources, and more in order for you to have a voice in this important change to Florida’s boundary lines.
I encourage you to visit these websites to learn more about this topic. Share your thoughts and opinions about Redistricting and get the word out. The more residents involved, the more informed and united we can be about this process.