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Sarasota Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 7 months ago

Sarasota County Commission to hold special redistricting meeting

During the meeting, commissioners will select one or two maps to advertise for a public hearing Nov. 5.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The Sarasota County Commission will hold a special redistricting meeting Oct. 30 after asking the county-hired consultant to create a fourth possible redistricting map. 

Commissioners were supposed to select one or two maps of the original three proposed by consultant Kurt Spitzer during a meeting Oct. 7. However, after receiving community input, commissioners were concerned with the accuracy of the data Spitzer collected. 

Throughout the process, county staff collected suggestions and other map ideas from members of the community through open house-style meetings and an online survey.  Nearly 90% of survey respondents said they'd prefer Spitzer's map Alternative One, which the Sarasota County Democratic Party contends changes the partisan compositions of the districts the least. 

In the last meeting, commissioners said that in the date Spitzer collected data, some census blocks — what Spitzer moved from district to district to make them even — were estimated to have significantly more people than they reasonably could. If the data is wrong, the population totals in each district could be wrong, negating the purpose of redistricting. 

So, commissioners Nancy Detert and Michael Moran asked Spitzer to take one of the maps drawn by a community member and create a fourth alternative. 

Now, commissioners will have a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30  in the board chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd. During the meeting, commissioners will discuss the four alternative maps and select one or two for a public hearing Nov. 5. 

At the Nov. 5 meeting, the public will have one final chance to speak before commissioners select a final map to be followed for the 2020 elections. 



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