I've been on the look-out for the website that will kick off Florida's Redistricting efforts. About once a week, I would do a search for Florida Redistricting and kept getting the old 2002 website. The past site, was to say the least, not exciting.
Then, being bored because of the Pro-Bowl blowout, I struck gold: Florida Redistricting
I'm impressed. Slick new website with everything you want on it: Twitter, Facebook, a YouTube Channel...
And oh, a sweet new program in which you can build your own district. They call this program MyDistrictBuilder*. It's not up yet, but they have this sweet video showing you how it will work. It not out yet and I will keep you updated when it does.
They do list a set of goals for this site and redistricting:
- By March 2011, the House will begin open public testing of MyDistrictBuilder.
- By April 2011, the House will receive all the Census 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This data is necessary to complete MyDistrictBuilder.
- By July 2011, the House will launch MyDistrictBuilder for the Public and Legislators to submit redistricting plans.
- Summer to Fall 2011, the Florida Legislature will hold public meetings throughout Florida to take testimony on redistricting.
The Shark-Tank breaks down the drama:
At the Federal level, there are potential candidates who are sitting back and waiting for next year's re-districting to potentially open up seats that would be favorable to the GOP or make previously "safe" seats for Democrats competitive. Contrary to the so-called 'Wizards of Smart' (hat tip to El Rushbo) that are already assuming where Florida’s two new congressional districts will be located, chances are they won't be placed in Southeast Florida, in spite of its population growth. With the GOP controlling the bounds of redistricting, it's a safe bet they won’t do anything that harms Republican-held Congressional seats like Allen West's seat in District 22, Tom Rooney's in District 16, David Rivera's in District 25, or skew state house and senate seats that overlap those Congressional Districts. As it stands right now, Congressional Districts 17,19, 20, and 23 strongly favor Democrats, and Districts 22 and 25 were considered toss-up seats before this past election cycle.
There is the possibility that the GOP could broker a deal with the Democrats to which could solidify existing GOP Congressional seats as well as Democrat seats like District 19 and 23. Two new congressional seats will be drawn- one of the two new seats could be located in Southwest Florida, and the other could split up existing Congressional District 2, creating two GOP-friendly seats. It's also possible that no deal will be brokered and strong Democrat seats like District 17, 19, and 20 could be even made stronger by giving back portions of surrounding Districts that lean 'D', while taking 'R' leaning areas out of either Districts 17 or 19 and redrawing them into part of District 20. We’ll have to wait to see what the 'powers that be' will do to redraw the 'battle' lines that were last drawn in 2000.
Of course, we can no longer just draw whatever we want. Amendment 5 and Amendment 6 passed. This exposes redistricting to court approval. It will also make it an interesting two years in Tallahassee. Florida Speaker Dean Cannon has joined US Reps Corrine Brown (D) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R) in a lawsuit to overturn the amendments. State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, like any good politician, is hedging his bets for right now.
UPDATE: You can check out MyDistrictBuilder here. I have a lot to do today, so I will not be able to check it out myself.
*I don't know why, but Florida has this branding going on. MyFlorida, MyFloridaHouse, MyFloridaDMV-
*drops his coffee*
Oh crap, I'm having flashbacks! The lines! The lines! Mommy, the lines!