Every ten years, after the census, the Florida Legislature redraws the boundaries of our congressional, state House and state Senate districts. This was originally intended to ensure that districts are equal in population — to make sure that every person has equal representation.
Unfortunately, legislators who draw the districts are motivated by only one thing: keeping themselves in power and maintaining the dominance of their party. So, they draw maps – not to make everyone’s vote count – but to create can’t-lose districts for themselves. This is called gerrymandering. Partisan gerrymandering slows down progress on all of the issues we care about, including climate change, land conservation, and water protection. We need your help to advocate for fair districts.
In 2010 Florida voters passed the FairDistricts Amendments to outlaw rigging districts for political favoritism. The 2010 FairDistricts Amendments prohibit the legislature from drawing districts to favor particular legislators or their parties. The amendments also ensure that districts cannot be drawn to diminish the rights of minority voters. Legislative leaders did not like having their power limited so they hatched a plan to violate the Constitution and hide it from the public. They passed maps in 2012 that were anything but fair. They had their political operatives draw maps in secret outside of the Capitol and then destroyed all their communications and other documents to try to hide what they had done. So citizen groups sued to overturn the unconstitutional maps and after years of litigation, they successfully proved in court that legislators and political operatives had engaged in a conspiracy to make a mockery of the will of the people who passed the FairDistricts Amendments. Legislators ended up admitting in open court that the maps they had passed were unconstitutional and should not be used. The courts approved new Congressional & Senate maps that complied with the constitutional rules against gerrymandering.
Redistricting will happen again in 2022. There is great concern that legislative leaders will find new ways to cheat again. Citizens need to demand that all mapping be done in the sunshine – with much greater transparency than in previous years. The legislature proved in 2012 that it cannot be trusted. They have to earn back our trust by being honest and transparent and by following the FairDistricts Amendments. But we have to let them know we are watching.
Please message your lawmakers and ask them to sign on to the Fair Districts pledge. This action takes less than one minute but can make an impact for a lifetime. When you’re done with your one-click email (we recommend customizing it for effectiveness), please share this action with your friends, family, and neighbors on social media.
The Fair Districts Coalition is working to ensure that Florida’s 2022 district maps fully comply with the FairDistricts provisions of our constitution. We are educating the public about redistricting and the importance of a fair redistricting process. We will encourage public participation in the process and urge the legislature to conduct redistricting in an open, transparent, interactive and constitutionally compliant manner.