A storm is on the horizon, Conservation Voters. Redistricting – the process of redrawing maps for Florida’s state and federal political districts – officially starts in Fall 2021. But things are happening now and we need you.
This summer, we have asked Conservation Voters to push their lawmakers to commit to fair districts. More than 500 folks messaged their lawmakers and asked them to sign the Fair Districts pledge (below). Our partners in democracy work also pushed their audiences to contact their statewide lawmakers. The result? Only 16 state House members and Senators signed – that’s less than 10% of our state legislature.
It’s not like our ask was all that difficult. The pledge read,
I agree that as a member of the Florida Legislature, it is my duty to follow the Fair Districts provisions of the state constitution, to end map manipulation, and have fair districts for all Floridians.
I pledge to faithfully adhere to the Fair Districts amendments and am committed to the drawing of district lines without intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent and to ensure that Florida’s district lines do not diminish the voting rights of racial and language minorities. The creation of districts that are compact, as nearly equal in population as possible, and that utilize existing political and geographical boundaries while splitting as few cities and counties as possible will be a priority for me.
Only 10% of legislators heeded your call. Only 10% of them agreed to the basic idea of equal representation in the redistricting process. This is a problem, Conservation Voters.
In Florida, our state legislators draw our district maps. This was originally intended to ensure that districts are equal in population and 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; it is used to unfairly manipulate the system. Gerrymandering slows down progress on all of the issues we care about, including climate change, land conservation, and water protection.
Why do fair districts matter? It’s simple. Fair districts let you elect the lawmakers that can best represent you – those who will act on behalf of your community. Fair districts mean clean water, plentiful parks, and climate action. Want better schools? We need fair districts. Want updated infrastructure and public transportation? We need fair districts. All the things we want from our lawmakers start with playing fair. Politicians are rigging the game, but with so much on the line, we can’t let them get away with it.
Despite the lackluster response from your legislators, they will not get a free pass. We will continue to hold them accountable for upholding our democracy. People like you will be critical to getting the fair districts our communities deserve. Fair districts will impact voters – your friends, family, and neighbors – for years to come. Our future is depending on all of us, together.
As we get closer and closer to the drawing of these maps, FCV’s Democracy for All Florida team is working to form and inform coalitions. We are conducting trainings for our partners and educational materials for voters. Please stay tuned to learn how you can get involved and fight for fair districts.
LEARN: Fight for Fair Districts
SHARE: Fair Districts Factsheet