Redistricting: What You Should Know. . .
“The Gerry-Mander,” March, 1812.
Printed in the New Yorker, Oct.31, 2014
Every 10 years after the U.S. census, the boundaries of voting districts at the national, state & local level are redrawn. Politicians of both parties have distorted the process to their own advantage. As far back as 1812, the word “gerrymander” was created to mock the work of then-Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry – who signed into law a ridiculously partisan district in Boston (favoring the Governor's now hard-to-imagine Democratic-Republican party) that reminded one editorial cartoonist of a salamander.
Gerrymandering in Florida
In 2010 Florida voters expressed their desire to re-insert fairness into our redistricting process by approving two constitutional amendments
which flatly prohibit districts that favor incumbents, or one party over others. Grudgingly the Florida legislature accepted the people's will and pledged that in 2012 they would conduct the most “open, interactive, transparent redistricting process ever,” Instead the GOP leadership engaged in a complicated conspiracy to hijack and game the mandated system It took five years of litigation to invalidate their biased maps and uncover the scope of the lies and partisan backroom dealing that produced them. Click here for more of this history.
Florida & the Courts
The court that eventually discarded those maps and wrote the ones we use today condemned the legislators' shenanigans. Though legislative leaders are once again promising a fair process, public skepticism is understandably high. With our courts now shaped by another decade of Republican governors, it's reasonable to wonder if the law will provide a reliable backstop this time.
Redistricting in Duval County
The results of the 2022 redistricting effort will determine statewide voting districts for the next 10 years. Here in Duval it is up to a subcommittee of the City Council to revisit district borders for City Council & School Board seats. Few things on our political horizon matter more than making sure this is a fair, equitable and transparent process at all levels.
Join BAM's email list and stay up to date on ways to speak out in Duval & Tallahassee.
Watch Redistricting 101, BAM's recent Zoom featuring Ellen Freidin, founder & CEO of
FairDistrictsNow. Then share what you learn with friends & family.
Write or call the JAX City Council & our state representatives:
• State Representative Cord Byrd,
Beaches Representative in Tallahassee, is chairing the State Legislative Redistricting Committee.
Remind them they took an oath to uphold Florida's Constitution with a redistricting process that is fair, legal, and transparent. Do this on your own and bring your eloquent to our Letter to the Editor group – a fun and social way to speak out.
Consider donating to organizations fighting for fair districts - among them FairDistrictsNow here in Florida, and the Brennan Center for Justice, the League of Women Voters, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund.