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Local group asking Lee Board of County Commissioners to begin redistricting process

Posted at 7:47 AM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 07:47:38-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Over the next few months, you're going to hear a lot about redistricting- both at the state and local level.

This morning, a group of people want to make sure they have a voice in the process. They plan on going to the commissioners meeting this morning to ask that the county be transparent in how it changes district lines.

Every ten years, redistricting happens through the U.S. Census. This affects several things, including how many representatives we have at the state and local levels. So population has a pretty big impact on where the lines are drawn. Because redistricting uses the census, that means the last time district lines were drawn was in 2011.

According to the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, all district lines must be reviewed after the census to meet requirements for things like population equality and voting rights protections. Otherwise, that’s when something called ‘gerrymandering’ takes place. Gerrymandering is when district lines are redrawn to influence elections to favor a particular party or candidate.

The group attending today’s board meeting told Fox 4 they simply want to know the county’s plan when it comes to redistricting.

“We’re simply citizens concerned and wanting to have input and requesting that input tomorrow," says Audrea Anderson, community activist. “This is going to take some time. But the public can be involved and can be brought along through the participation of a citizen’s advisory committee and through the announcements that the Board of County Commissioners make to the public so that we are well informed all through the process.”

“We wanted to know the timeline, the process and the criteria that they will be using to make these decisions," said Madelon Stewart, community activist. "Which are going to impact who is going to be able to elected in Lee County.”

Now the group is hoping for a transparent, process that includes input from the public throughout redistricting.