Redrawing legislative and U.S. House districts won’t begin until later this year, but Democrats already acknowledge that, other than the law, they don’t have much to stop maps that Republicans roll out.
“This is going to be a difficult process,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said this week. “We know that we don’t have the votes to stop a redistricting plan. Unfortunately, the courts have shifted significantly in the last 10 years. And so, it will be difficult.”
Fried hopes that if Republicans go heavy on gerrymandering, they will pay a price in the 2022 elections.
House Minority Co-leader Evan Jenne, a Democrat from Dania Beach, noted that district boundary lines cannot by law be drawn to benefit or harm any person or any political party.
But he also recalled that during the last reapportionment process a decade ago, his district lines were moved 150 yards west of his house. After six years in office, he left the Legislature but returned in 2014.
“Look, we are going to try to influence that process in a way that is good for each individual community so that they can have the best representation possible, irrespective of who they would like to vote for in their party,” Jenne said. “Right now, the most dangerous thing, and I will say it, I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it, both on the House floor, in these meetings, and wherever I go, the most dangerous, dangerous threat to America right now, is the continued polarization and tribalism of politics in this country.”
In February, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic the data Florida lawmakers will use to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries won’t be delivered until September. The bureau had been expected to start delivering census data to states in February.
Redrawn districts are expected to be in place for the 2022 elections. Florida likely will pick up at least two additional congressional seats with the new population count.