There have been quite a few stories in the past day or two about the redistricting process that will take place over the next year.
With the analysis of much of the 2010 Census data now completed, the picture is becoming clearer as to which parts of the state could get one of the expected two new Congressional seats.
The consensus is that Polk County could be in line for an extra seat with state Sen. Paula Dockery (R) a leading candidate in the speculation.
The reason is that there is an overpopulation in our area. Each district is supposed to have an equal (or as close to equal as possible) total population. Our area has been growing over the past 10 years, and a new district or some definite reorganizing will be needed to get us back to the average.
The complicating factors are the two amendments that voters passed last November, requiring state legislators to redistrict without consideration for party success and as close to county/city boundaries as possible.
But no matter what, there are going to be some major changes and Polk County is going to be at the center of much of the discussion.
Personally, I voted for both amendments and I’d like to see a district that is made up entirely of just Polk County if possible. The way the districts are currently, Polk County is primarily in District 12, the seat currently held by Dennis Ross. The northeast corner of the county is the 15th District, the seat now held by Bill Posey.
But the 12th District also cuts over into Hillsborough County, covering parts of Brandon and elsewhere. The majority of Ross’s constituents are from Polk County, but he also has to be concerned about those in Hillsborough.
The 15th District, on the other hand, stretches all the way to the East Coast and gives Polk County very little influence.
Again, I think it would be ideal for Polk County to be one Congressional district, and hopefully the amendments will help make that a reality. There’s also going to be changes to the state senate and state house districts, too, and Polk will also be a big factor in that.
One other helpful piece of information is a 2010 Census map put together by the Miami Herald. It shows the districts as they are drawn now and also breaks down the population, identifying which ones are overpopulated. Here’s the link to the map.