What Is Redistricting?
Redistricting occurs when the boundaries of electoral districts are redrawn. It’s done every 10 years following the U.S. Census.
After the Census, each state’s number of congress people in the U.S. House of Representatives is recalculated based on the current population. Florida’s population grew by 2.9 million residents, giving the state one additional Representative (from 27 to 28).
The Florida State Legislature redraws the state’s U.S. Congressional districts to reflect its number of Representatives. It also redraws its State House and State Senate districts.
Florida’s redistricting process will dramatically reshape the state’s political lines and congressional map. The LWVFL stands ready to
defend Fair Districts in
the 2022 redistricting cycle.
What Is Gerrymandering?
Redistricting should be a nonpartisan process that apportions representation simply, logically, and fairly across the state’s population.
Gerrymandering is the politically motivated manipulation of district boundaries to deliberately disadvantage a group of voters based on their party affiliation or race. It’s used by the party in power to retain power, regardless of the voice of the voters.
TWO TYPES OF GERRYMANDERING:
CRACKING refers to diluting the voting power of the opposing party’s supporters.
PACKING refers to concentrating the opposing party’s power in one district to reduce its power in multiple other districts.
Gerrymandering suppresses democracy It:
- Is an abuse of power
- Creates unfair advantages for one political party in elections
- Creates unfair representation of voters and prevailing views
- Allows extreme minority positions to achieve power
- Undermines voters’ ability to hold elected officials accountable via the ballot
- Weakens faith in government and democracy
- Increases voter cynicism and reduces voter participation
Fair District Amendments to the Florida State Constitution
In 2010, 63% of Florida voters approved two amendments written by the League and partners within a group dubbed the “Fair Districts Coalition” to help ensure fair redistricting. In 2012, they were signed into law.
The Fair Districts provisions require that district lines:
- not be drawn to favor one political party over another
- not be drawn to harm voting power of racial or language minorities
- are contiguous.
In addition, if possible, and so long as it does not violate the requirements above, the districts should:
- be compact
- take into account jurisdictional lines of counties and cities
- take into account geographical boundaries
The League of Women Voters of Florida has successfully fought to protect fair districts in the past & is continuing that fight today:
In 2012, the League and a coalition of voting rights groups filed two lawsuits in response to gerrymandering by political party operatives.
- The State Legislature spent $11 million of taxpayer money unsuccessfully defending its illegally draw district map.
- In 2015, the courts approved new Congressional district boundaries drawn by the League and its partners.
- The fairly balanced districts directly contributed to the electoral wins of three non-white candidates in 2016.
In 2022, following the previous cycle of advocacy and litigation, the League and a coalition of voting rights groups partnered up to encourage the state legislature to follow Florida’s voter-approved Fair District provisions.
Unfortunately, the legislature was unable to fully comply with the provisions and the League of Women Voters of Florida is a part of ongoing litigation regarding Florida’s congressional map.
- Florida’s state legislature attempted to follow Florida’s Fair Districts provisions and put forth compliant state legislative maps.
- Unfortunately, Governor Ron DeSantis unprecedentedly inserted himself into the Florida’s congressional redistricting process.
- Governor DeSantis ultimately vetoed the legislature’s proposals, drafted his own and placed pressure on the legislature to pass his congressional map.
- It is the League’s belief that Governor DeSantis’s congressional redistricting map violates the Fair Districts Amendment pertaining to congressional redistricting in the Florida Constitution.
- The map Governor DeSantis put forth diminishes Black voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice in congressional districts that have previously elected Black representatives to Congress.
- Governor DeSantis himself as expressed that the map he has drawn does not comport with the present rulings of the highest court of our state, the Florida Supreme Court, as given in 2015.
- The League believes the Governor and state legislature’s refusal to protect the Florida Supreme Court’s previously created Black districts will directly harm Black voting power established by Florida Supreme Court and harms every citizen in the state, regardless of race. Breaking established law in the hopes that the court will change the law in the future destroys the rule of law. .
What you can do! Ensure Voters pick their Politicians, Not Vice Versa
- Pay attention and stay informed
- Join your local LWV chapter for up to date information on local an state redistricting. Click here to find your League
- Scroll down to “Stay Connected” to be added to LWVFL newsletters and alerts on redistricting and more
- Believe what you see over what you hear
- Contact your elected officials to demand an open, fair process
- Write letters to the editor about redistricting and gerrymandering
- Encourage others to be vocal about transparency and fairness
- Organize fellow voters to exert pressure on elected officials
- Attend public hearings and participate in local redistricting
Interested in requesting a speaker on redistricting?
Fill out this form:
A joint website was created by the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate to provide access to information about the 2022 redistricting cycle. The site also provides free, public access to the same redistricting data and map-drawing application used by the Legislature, as well as information about opportunities for public engagement.
Sign up to receive LWVFL newsletters and alerts on redistricting and more