What Is Redistricting?
Redistricting is 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 Congresspeople in the U.S. House of Representatives is recalculated based on the current population. Florida’s population was found to have grown 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.
The Leage of Women Voters
of Florida stands ready to
oppose gerrymandering in
the 2022 redistricting cycle.
What Is Gerrymandering?
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 Citizen Initiative amendments written by the LWVFL and its partners to help ensure fair redistricting. In 2012, they were signed into law.
Among other things, they stipulate that Florida’s electoral districts must:
- Equally divide the population
- Be drawn with partisan fairness
- Be drawn to provide fair representation to minorities
- Be compact
The League of Women Voters of Florida has successfully fought gerrymandering in the past.
Most recently, in 2012, the LWVFL and a coalition of civil 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.
All Eyes on 2022 Redistricting
In 2012, the Republican-controlled State Legislature intentionally and illegally drew new electoral districts in violation of the Fair District Amendments overwhelmingly supported by Florida voters.
Florida voters must demand that the 2022 redistricting be a transparent and fair process.
What can you do?
- Pay attention and stay informed
- 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