Redistricting

The 2012 Legislative Session began two months earlier than usual on January 10, 2012. The earlier Session, required by the Florida Constitution, was to accommodate the time line for the process of redrawing the district lines for the Florida House of Representatives, the Senate and the Congressional Districts for the State. Redistricting is required after each decennial Census and the Constitution requires an earlier Session so that prospective candidates will have time for filing to run for office. The Constitution limits the number of Senate districts to 40 and the number of House districts to 120.

Reapportionment is the redistribution of seats in the United States House of Representatives among the 50 states, based on the decennial Census. Each state gets at least one seat. Effective with elections in 2012 Florida gets 27 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, an increase of two.

Between 2000 and 2010, the resident population in Florida increased from 15,982,378 to 18,801,310. The average number of people in each congressional district increased from 639,295 to 696,345. The average number of people in each of 120 state house districts increased from 133,186 to 156,678. The average number of people in each of 40 state senate districts increased from 399,559 to 470,033. Areas with population growth rates less than average needed more territory to equalize population. Areas with population growth rates greater than average needed to lose territory to equalize population.

The Fair Districts amendments, which were approved by the electorate in 2010, mandate that districts be drawn using a list of requirements such as compactness, follow political and geographic boundaries, and within those legal parameters, no district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent. The membership of the Broward Legislative Delegation will be reduced from 26 members to 19 members (5 Senators and 14 House members). However, most of the members will be primarily elected from Broward County.

The maps showing the districts in Broward County which will be effective for the next 10 years can be found on the Delegation website: broward.org/legislative.