On Wednesday, the Florida Legislature launched a joint website and a new interactive map drawing application for the 2022 redistricting cycle.
Florida’s redistricting website is a one-stop-shop for information on the redistricting process. Notably, it includes a direct link to a map drawing application where the public can go to draw and submit redistricting plans after signing up for a free account.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Tribly, and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, weighed in on the new site.
“The way people communicate with everyone, including their legislators, has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and this new joint website is going to reflect those great technological advancements. Our staff have been working tirelessly to integrate recently received census data with the new map-drawing application so legislators and the public can appropriately and actively participate in this once-in-a-decade process in a tangible and meaningful way,” said Simpson.
“Today’s launch of the Florida redistricting website and map drawing application marks an exciting milestone for this redistricting cycle. We are proud to put forward resources that both educate the public and enable them to directly participate in this once-in-10-year process. The task of redistricting is not one to be taken lightly, and as we embark on this cycle, the Florida House will aim for the same constitutional and legal standards that led to our map being upheld by the Florida Supreme Court in 2012,” said Sprowls.
The Florida Legislature’s map drawing application uses geographical information systems (GIS) technology, incorporating data necessary to build districts down to the census block level. The conveniently accessible map drawing application allows members of the public to use the same datasets, drawing tools and analysis functionality used by legislators and staff. Florida is one of a handful of states to offer a free, tailored map drawing solution to the public for the 2022 redistricting cycle.
Florida’s redistricting website houses a direct link for the public to draw and submit maps; direct links to U.S. Census Bureau background information and source data; redistricting resources such as a glossary, timeline and constitutional references; as well as instructional materials for the map drawing application and interactive maps that illustrate population growth over the decade, along with historical maps. Additional updates to further enhance the communication of ideas and suggestions from the public are expected in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the decennial census during 2020 and subsequently released updated apportionment counts in April 2021. Based on statewide population growth, as captured during the decennial census, Florida received an additional congressional seat, bringing the state’s total to 28 seats. The U.S. Census Bureau also announced that Florida’s updated statewide population total is 21,538,187 residents, officially making Florida the third most populous state in the country. In August 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau released the legacy format P.L. 94-171 redistricting population dataset required to analyze and draw district boundaries at the census block level. The formal and fully formatted data was delivered on September 16, 2021.
As stated in Article III, Section 16 of the Florida Constitution, the Florida Legislature is required to update state legislative district boundaries during the Regular Session in the second year following a decennial census. This process, along with updating congressional district boundaries, will be completed in compliance with both the U.S. and Florida constitutions.
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