SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - In a special meeting Wednesday, County Commissioners voted to move forward on two maps that will re-district Sarasota County.
The chamber was packed with residents, many who voiced strong disapproval of redistricting.
“Now it seems your goal is to rig the districts so you can be re-elected and overturn single-member districts," said Kindra Muntz to the Commission.
She led the single member districts effort that was widely successful, a proposal that passed in November, meaning commissioners are now voted into their seats by the people who live in their respective districts, instead of votes from the entire county as it was before.
But when this passed, it launched a new initiative that many are not happy about - redistricting.
Commissioners say there’s a significant disparity in the number of people that live in each district.
“To me, this has always been about the numbers and the law," said Commissioner Hines. "The numbers should be equalized. One person, one vote.”
The two maps show the new boundary lines commissioners are considering and many are accusing them of gerrymandering and racism because one of the maps will move Newtown, a predominately black area, from District 1 to District 2.
“Maybe you don’t even care about the 10,000 black votes not voting in 2020 if you adopt that map,” said one citizen.
District 1 votes in 2020, while District 2 votes in 2022.
“How are you gonna look yourselves in the mirror when you take the largest, majority minority area of this county and put them out of a district that’s gonna be voting in 2020 and put them in 2022," said another citizen.
Commissioner Nancy Detert challenged the citizens who spoke saying none of them submitted a map for commissioners to consider.
“I’ve lived here for 40 years and I’ve never seen our citizens behave like this before," Detert said.
Now that commissioners have decided on a final two maps, they will be discussed again in a special public hearing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 19.