The first week of redistricting meetings were held last week with two meetings in Tallahassee, and one each in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. After 13 hours of driving and 13 hours of listening to public testimony, it is clear that the effort to draw new [legislative] districts will be tedious.
This is my first experience in the redistricting process and I am honored to have been appointed to serve on the Redistricting Committee. While other members were thankful to dodge the “extra work,” I enjoy the opportunity to be a part of history and to learn the mechanics behind redistricting.
Every 10 years, Florida redraws the political boundary lines of state legislative and congressional districts to reflect changes in population, as determined by the most recent US Census and as required by the Florida and US Constitution. The term “reapportionment” refers to the task of dividing the state’s population by the number of congressional seats apportioned to the state. The task of “redistricting” is the redrawing of political boundaries to reflect change in the population.
Between now and September 1, members for the Florida House and Senate will hold 26 public hearings throughout the state to hear from Floridians on how they wish the new lines to be drawn.
The various redistricting committees will then begin drawing Florida House, Florida Senate and US congressional boundaries. It is important to note that no new maps have been drafted yet. There are an infinite number of ways that the 120 House, 40 Senate and 27 Congressional seats can be drawn; the first step is to listen to the public so we understand where they have communities of common interests and how they want to be represented in their legislative branch.