- Oct. 7: Board considers community input on alternative district maps and authorizes the advertisement of a public hearing on adoption of a new district map.
- Oct. 26: The advertisement of public hearing to adopt new district map.
- Nov. 5: Board holds public hearing and votes to adopt new district map.
Citizens who cannot make it to the open houses will be able to provide their input online with a survey starting Sept. 18. The survey will remain active through Oct. 1. Once live, the survey will be available from this webpage (scgov.net/redistricting).
What standards must a redistricting process apply?
- Equal (almost) in population. Individual districts should be as nearly equal in population as is possible or practicable. “Population” means residents, not registered voters. “Nearly equal” means that the population of individual districts should be as close to the average size district (i.e. ideal size) as is possible.
- Doesn’t dilute minority voting strength. If there is a location where a significant number of minority residents reside, their ability to vote as a block should not be diluted by either dividing that population into two or more districts (termed “cracking”) or, if there is a significant minority population in two districts, moving that population into a single district (termed “packing”).
- Contiguous. All parts of the district are physically adjacent.
- Follow the Voting Rights Act and comply with the Equal Protection Clause.
What traditional factors may a redistricting process apply?
- Compact. Districts should be relatively compact. Unusual, “bizarre” or serpentine district shapes that are created without furthering a valid underlying public policy purpose should be avoided.
- Significant natural and man-made boundaries. Where possible, district boundaries should follow easily recognized or understood boundaries, such as major roads, waterbodies or parklands.
- Preserves the core of the existing district boundaries. The boundaries of the new districts may retain the cores of their existing boundaries to provide continuity of representation.
- Avoids splitting communities of interest. District boundaries should avoid splitting communities that have similar interests (e.g. neighborhoods or cities) where possible.
Following the approval of the county charter amendment creating single-member commissioner districts, which is effective with the 2020 election, the Sarasota County Commission decided to examine the need to adjust commission district boundaries. As county residents may now only vote for a single commission district candidate, rather than all five commissioners, the commissioners commented that it was important for each district to be as nearly equal in population as possible.
Florida statutes require the county to determine the need for redistricting after each decennial census. State law also permits the county to adjust commission district boundaries in odd-numbered years in order to keep the districts as nearly equal in proportion to population as possible.
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