Using ArcGIS software, SCOPE created the following maps to further inform discussions and deliberations regarding redistricting here in Sarasota County:
Map of Existing Districts for the State of Florida House of Representatives: Note that Sarasota County includes 5 Districts: 69, 55, 67, 70 and 71. Only District 70 lies entirely within the boundaries of Sarasota County. District 55 creeps down into north Sarasota County from St. Pete and southwest Hillsborough County, and is the only district with a Democratic representative in the county.
Map of Existing Districts for the State of Florida Senate: Note that Sarasota County is split into two districts: District 21 and District 23. The majority of the county lies within District 23; this District extends up to Manatee County and down to Charlotte County as well. District 21 accounts for a portion of northern Sarasota County east of 75 and most of northern Sarasota County west of 75, and skirts the county boundary on the east side. The majority of District 21 is actually located in Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee Counties; but it also contains a portion of DeSoto in addition to Sarasota County.
Map of Age-Eligible Voters (Age 18 Years and Above) in Sarasota County: Note that the distribution of age-eligible voters by census tract in each district is not equal throughout the county; there seems to be a higher concentration of Sarasota County age-eligible voters in District 70 than in any other district, and a higher concentration in District 71 compared to District 67.
Map of Race/Ethnicity in Sarasota County: Note that while most of the people in Sarasota County identify their race as White, there is a concentration of people who identify their race as Black in the northern part of the county currently located in House Districts 55 & 69. People who identify their ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino are more concentrated in the part of the county that corresponds with District 69, as currently defined.
Map of Districts for the U.S. Congress: Note that all of Sarasota County is included in District 13. While the upcoming discussions about redistricting primarily focus on State of Florida district boundaries, the Districts associated with the federal government and country-wide voting are important to keep in mind as well.
Here at SCOPE, we really wanted to be able to map one other important consideration: eligible voters, in terms of people age 18 years and above who have not had their voting rights revoked due to felony convictions. This is important because while people who have been convicted of felonies are included in the census count, they are not currently eligible voters in the state of Florida. We are not able to map this information, however, because accurate, cumulative, place-based data on people with felony convictions is not available at this time. It is worth keeping in mind, however, because a district with a greater proportion of residents who are ineligible to vote by virtue of felony convictions could be at risk of decreased sensitivity to the wisdom of the full diversity of the community.
So what patterns do you notice in these maps, and what implications do you recognize for redistricting? We are eager to hear your impressions and ideas. (Click on the maps several times to make them larger)