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H000H9049 – Florida House’s Redistricting Committee

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Filed under: Florida House of Representatives, State House - Complete Plans, , ,

4 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. One more time.

    Florida Constitutional Amendment 5 as passed by the voters reads ‘Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.’

    This map does not meet these requirements. It divides the existing PUD geographical boundaries as defined and recognized by the state of Florida into three seperate house legislative districts. It denies the minority population of this PUD the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice by splitting the 83,000 persons which would make a majority of a single house district into three house districts where the minority population would be spread out among other communities within those districts. It favors the incumbant representatives because it protects the current split of the community into three house districts which has resulted in no representitive residing in the community ever being elected to statewide office.

    • Keith, as always thank you for your feedback. Florida has 411 municipalities and many unincorporated communities to go along with 67 counties. We made a tremendous effort to keep as many of those communities whole. Likewise, we made a tremendous effort to comply with other state and federal redistricting standards. We reduced counties split by 16, almost to the minimum possible, and we reduced cities split by 95. In addition, the 120 state house districts are dramatically more compact than the existing map in use today.

      That said, your contention that one specific unincorporated community being split somehow endangers the legality of the entire map is just simply without merit. And regarding the Hispanic community, as you well know, a new Hispanic majority-minority district was created in neighboring Osceola County, including the Osceola portions of Poinciana. So your contention that a minority community has been inappropriately divided is also without merit.

      Polk County districts were drawn to ensure that at least two districts were entirely within the borders of Polk, and two more districts are majority Polk County. A fifth district is close to evenly split between Polk and Osceola. These districts are all drawn within the parameters of the law. In fact, the Polk County Commission requested this overall design.

      Ultimately, there’s different ways to draw a legal map. We appreciated your suggestions, but the reality is that they did not improve the way this map was drawn. Please consider that the fact that you didn’t get exactly what you wanted in this map is in no way a reflection of whether it’s legal. Also, I do believe in the amendment for the congressional map that your community is located wholly in the same district. So Poinciana was certainly not ignored in this process.

      • The issue that makes Poinciana unique amongst all the other unincorporated communities and in fact most of the incorporated municipalities is its size. With a population of 83,000 it ranks only behind Lakeland and Kissimmee in Polk and Osceola counties in size. Why should the hispanic minority population in one part of Poinciana be allowed to reside in a Hispanic district while their neighbors who have the same need for government represtation be denied?

        Yes, Poinciana is not a municipal city, but that was dictated by the same public officials who will most likely benefiit from keeping Poinciana in multiple house districts. A study was done by the school of government at UCF for Poinciana to become a city and it was never allowed to be placed before the people for a vote by the legislative delegation. When was the last time a new city was allowed in either Polk or Osceola Counties? (Hint not in the last 50 years).

        If Poinciana were a city there would be no question that it should be in a single district because of its size. The voters of Poinciana did not get a chance to vote on the issue because the legislative delegation did not allow it.

        The issue should not be whether or not Poinciana is a city. The issue is whether or not a community of 83,000 persons, many of them minorities should be allowed to elect a state representitive from within their community? With Poinciana split into districts shared with other communities such as Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Winter Haven there will never be an opportunity for Poinciana to have a majority of voters in any district.

        The amendment reads ‘existing geographical boundaries’ for a reason. To protect the right of unincorporated communities such as Poinciana to participate in the political process and elect representitives of their choice. Not the choice of other communities who they are forced to share districts with.

  2. I meant to add Poinciana as the name of the existing PUD boundaries in question.

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