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Legislative Redistricting must be Transparent

Sue Gilman & Barbara Lanning  | Published on 9/15/2021
Orlando Sentinel Opinion Letter

Every 10 years, after receiving U.S. Census results, governments redraw boundaries for elected offices. The intent is to adjust district lines to accommodate changes in population and count every person’s vote equally.

Historically in the Florida Legislature, however, decision-makers in the majority party — regardless of party — have manipulated lines to guarantee particular electoral outcomes regardless of which candidates run.

On Aug. 24, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners appointed 15 citizens to its Advisory Committee for Redistricting (ACR) to guide this process in the county. The Legislature has appointed committee chairs who will begin work to draw state legislative and U.S. House districts later this month.

On behalf of the 700-plus members of the League of Women Voters of Orange County, we call on the ACR and the State Redistricting Committees to abide by the “Fair Districts” standards adopted in the Florida Constitution in 2010 and supported by two-thirds of the popular vote.

Fair districts are contiguous and compact, use natural boundaries, do not benefit one political party over another, do not discriminate against minority voters and ensure that every person’s vote counts equally.

We support public participation in this important process and urge the ACR and the Legislature to conduct redistricting in an open, transparent, interactive, and constitutionally compliant manner.

We urge all citizens to support this process by attending and speaking up at the public hearings that will take place around the county. For more information, visit the Redistricting 2021 section of the county’s website, orangecountyfl.net

Barbara Lanning Orlando

Sue Gilman Winter Park

Barbara Lanning and Sue Gilman are co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Orange County.