On February 23rd, the Florida House voted to remove a statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith. The vote was pushed by Democrats and African-American lawmakers as part of a growing movement in southern states to remove old symbols of the Confederacy. The Senate passed the removal 33-7 and the House concurred 83-32. The map below shows the House vote. All no votes came from Republicans.
Jefferson County, Florida, a small Democratic-leaning county just to the east of Tallahassee, is currently being sued by the ACLU over its 5 single-member commission districts, which are used for both County Commission and School Board elections. The suing parties say that the districts use prison gerrymandering to inflate the minority population of one district specifically, District 3. The issue stems from Jefferson County Correctional Institution, a jail with over 1,100 inmates. Prison populations are counted by the census for the location they are incarcerated in, not where they initially lived.
Today the legislature used a random number system to renumber the map selected by Judge Reynolds a few days ago. More details on the map and who may run where can be found in that link.
Judge Reynolds’ decision came out today, another chapter in the Florida Senate redistricting saga. You can my past articles on the Senate redistricting saga here, here, here, here, and here, Reynolds had to pick a final Senate map to for the Florida Supreme Court to sign off on and he selected a map proposed by the coalition plaintiffs, map CPS4A.
‘Twas the night before trial, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, save the click of my mouse;
The maps were all mounted by the desk with care,
In hopes that an end of the redistricting saga would soon be there;
The analysts were nestled all snug in their beds,
Now that Florida’s Supreme Court has signed off on a Congressional map, the voters of Florida can finally know what districts they live in. For voters in North Florida, this means dramatic changes to their current political situation. Many voters west of Walton County will find themselves either in a safe Republican seat that stretches from Bay to Marion, the Florida 2nd; or a safe Democratic seat that goes from Gadsden to Jacksonville, the Florida 5th. The new 5th district is designed to be an African-American district, replacing the Jacksonville to Orlando configuration of the past.
If you were waiting for more evidence that an independent or bipartisan redistricting commission is needed in Florida, the last several months have proved it. Florida continues to have no finalized Congressional or State Senate maps, leaving local election officials hamstrung as they gear up for a Presidential Primary just around the corner. The Congressional Maps were just approved by the Supreme Court last week, however, a federal lawsuit from some parties may be brewing. Meanwhile the trial on the Senate maps has yet to even begin.
A good deal has happened in the ongoing redistricting saga in the last several days. The State Senate passed its proposed districts with a controversial amendment attached. The House redistricting committee has passed their own amended version of the map, and the coalition plaintiffs have now put forward three proposals. This article will go over each development.
The coalition plaintiffs suing the Florida Legislature over the 2012 State Senate boundaries have opted to release one proposal they have for the Senate lines. The word from many is that the coalition may release another map, one that incorporates 2012 and 2014 primary data, which is an issue I have discussed on this blog. The map has several issues and it is definitely this writer’s opinion that some adjustments need to be made. Let’s take a look at some key details.
One major point of contention during the first week of the Special Session to redraw the Florida Senate seats has been the Tampa Bay area.
Many spectators expected the Florida Senate to abandon efforts to cross the Tampa Bay from Pinellas to Hillsborough County, which they did in two districts in 2012.