SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Though the chambers were packed with hundreds of people opposed to the move, County Commissioners voted Tuesday to redistrict Sarasota County.
There were two maps under consideration. Here is the final map that was approved:
Commissioners moved to redistrict the county after last November, when a single-member district proposal was passed that changed how commissioners are elected. Instead of allowing everyone in the county to vote for a commissioner representing any district, now a commissioner is elected only by people who live in their respective district.
Commissioners say there’s a significant disparity in the number of people that live in each district and that forced them to redistrict.
“To me, this has always been about the numbers and the law," said Commissioner Hines. "The numbers should be equalized. One person, one vote.”
But Kindra Muntz, who pushed for the proposal for single-member districts, is among those who say commissioners have corrupt intent in their redistricting efforts.
“Now it seems your goal is to rig the districts so you can be re-elected and overturn single-member districts," said Muntz during a previous meeting.
There have also been accusations of gerrymandering and racism because the final map approved changes Newtown, a predominately black area, from District 1 to District 2. District 1 votes in 2020, while District 2 votes in 2022.
“Since you’re only voting for the person who represents your district, you’re voting every other election, practically," said Commissioner Nancy Detert. "Two-fifths of the county will not be voting for a county commissioner in 2020. We didn’t take away your right to vote, under single-member districts, it’s not your turn to vote.”
“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 one citizen during a previous meeting.
The board voted 3-2 to approve the new district boundary map, which will be in effect during the 2020 election cycle.
But many have already voiced an intent to file lawsuits to stop this redistricting at the court level.
For more information and to download the map, click here.