What is Redistricting?
Redistricting is the constitutionally-mandated redrawing of local, state, and federal political boundaries every ten years following the federal Census to account for changes in population during the previous decade. In Orange County, it is required that each commission district be as nearly equal in population as practicable. The redistricting process in Orange County is governed by the U.S. Constitution, State and federal law, and the Orange County Charter.
What is Orange County’s role in redistricting?
Orange County has six single-member commission districts of contiguous territory, each as nearly equal in population as practicable. Pursuant to the Florida Constitution and the Orange County Charter, those districts shall be reconsidered after each decennial census and adjusted by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) after one or more public hearings. In order to facilitate the redistricting process, the BCC has appointed a fifteen-member Redistricting Advisory Committee to review the census data and recommend proposed changes to district boundaries for adoption. The County’s redistricting process will include broad opportunity for public review and participation.
Why is redistricting important to County residents?
Redistricting will determine the boundaries of Orange County’s six commission districts, so everyone living in the County has a stake. Any adjustments will determine the commission district within which a resident lives and votes, beginning with the 2012 elections. The County’s redistricting task relates only to redrawing County Commission districts; the County does not reapportion congressional seats, adjust other electoral district boundaries or allocate federal funding for local programs. Keep in mind that any city within the County that has single member districts will have to undergo a separate redistricting process. Therefore a resident that lives in the City of Orlando, for example, will need to follow both the County’s and the City’s redistricting processes.
What is the Redistricting Advisory Committee?
On March 15, 2011, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) adopted a resolution to establish the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC). This fifteen-member advisory committee is composed of residents and electors of the County and is tasked with reviewing the latest census data and submitting a proposed redistricting plan for the County commission districts for the BCC’s consideration by October 1, 2011. The RAC is advisory in nature; therefore, ultimately, any changes to the boundaries of the six commission districts must be approved by a vote of the BCC.
The RAC will hold regular public meetings in County commission chambers as well as one meeting in each of the six commission districts to receive input from County residents. The County has set up this website to offer residents a convenient way to review all aspects of the redistricting effort. On the website, residents will find the RAC’s agendas and minutes, maps, census data and other useful redistricting information.
Who are the Redistricting Advisory Committee members?
The Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) consists of fifteen (15) members, two nominated by each County Commissioner and three nominated by the County Mayor. Each member is a resident and registered voter of the County. Members of the RAC were appointed by the Board of County Commissioners on March 15, 2011.
What are the duties of the Redistricting Advisory Committee?
In accordance with the Resolution that established the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC), adopted by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on March 15, 2011, the RAC has the following duties and responsibilities:
Endeavor to submit to the BCC on or before October 1, 2011, its proposal(s) for redistricting the County into six commission districts of contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable.
In developing its recommendations, the RAC shall take into consideration the demographics of the County, the geography of the neighborhoods, existing precinct lines and community interests.
The RAC shall establish a schedule of meetings, including times and locations, which shall be filed with the Clerk and advertised in a newspaper of general circulation within Orange County. The RAC should endeavor to meet at least twice a month until its assignment is completed.
The RAC shall hold no fewer than two public hearings before adopting its recommendations. Notice of each public hearing shall be advertised in a newspaper not less than ten days before each hearing.
Each agenda should have an “audience to be heard” section in which the public can express opinions to the RAC.
Do County residents have a voice in redistricting?
Absolutely! All members of the public are encouraged to share their views about County redistricting at any of the meetings of the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC), either at the Orange County Government Administration Center or at one of the RAC meetings planned to be held in each of the six commission districts. The purpose of the meetings is for the RAC to encourage public participation and receive public input on the redistricting process. Ultimately, the input from the meetings will help the RAC develop its redistricting plans to be submitted to and considered by the Board of County Commissioners.
Can members of the public submit maps or plans for consideration?
Yes, members of the public may submit proposed redistricting maps or plans to the Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) for consideration. The public is encouraged to keep in mind that the redistricting process is somewhat fluid and often, when one district is modified, that change necessitates a change to one or more other districts in order to keep population totals as equal as possible. Therefore, the public is encouraged to submit maps that include a plan for all six commission districts rather than just one district or a portion of one district. Residents who need assistance with drawing a proposed map can contact the County’s Geographic Information Systems Office at (407) 836-0066.
When will census figures be released?
Results of the 2010 federal Census are required by law to be delivered on or before April 1, 2011.
Which Commission districts will be most affected?
We won’t know that until the final census figures are delivered; however, given that the 2010 Census results will likely show population changes in every commission district, it is possible that all six commission districts will be affected. If boundary adjustments are made to any one district, it is likely that changes will occur in adjacent districts in order to keep population totals as equal as possible.
When does the Board of County Commissioners intend to adopt a final redistricting plan?
The Board intends to adopt its redistricting plan by ordinance prior to January 2012 to provide the Supervisor of Elections adequate time to establish their new voting precincts (based on the new districts) as far in advance of the 2012 statewide primary as possible.
Will the Redistricting Advisory Committee consider whether to change the number of commission districts?
No. The number of commission districts is set by the County Charter. As such, the Redistricting Advisory Committee must maintain the number of commission districts at six (6). In order for the number of commission districts to be changed, an amendment to the County Charter would have to be approved by the voters in Orange County.
I have a question that is not answered here. Where can I get more information?
Explore this website further at: www.ocfl.net/rac
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