|New districts may cause confusion at the ballot box|
|Written by Dr. Garth A. Rose|
|Friday, 13 July 2012 09:44|
A new voter information card may be heading to your mailbox shortly. Broward County Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda C. Snipes, has confirmed that new cards have been sent out for the county. But voters who ignore the updated information on their new cards may find themselves stranded at the ballot box come Election Day on August 14, thanks to the state's recent redistricting process.
"We would like to remind all voters to review the information on their new voter information cards and remember that district numbers may have changed due to redistricting," said Dr. Snipes.
Every 10 years, following findings from the U.S. census, Florida is required by state law to redraw voting districts at the commission and state level. Once reapportionment and redistricting are complete, voters may become electors in a new district with new elected officials.
And since most of the region's voting districts have been affected by the redistricting process, it is extremely important that voters pay keen attention to the new voter information cards. Otherwise, voters who turn up for the upcoming primary elections on August 14 or the general elections on November 6 may find themselves ineligible to vote in the districts they voted at in previous elections.
"Voters may view their most current precinct information by going to The Broward County Supervisor of Elections' Precinct Finder Tool at www.browardsoe.org," reminds Snipes. "The precinct finder allows a voter to enter their address and find the correct precinct. Once the voter's precinct is located, the voter can view the voting districts and polling place."
Meanwhile, voters interested in voting in the important August 14 primary elections must be registered as either Democrat or Republican, not with No Party Affiliation (NPA). NPA voters are ineligible to participate in Florida's primary elections, where voters cast votes strictly within party affiliation. NPA registered voters can however vote in the general elections and cast a vote for candidates in either political party.
The redistricting process theoretically ensures that the number of voters in each district is equally distributed, and that each resident is fairly represented in government. The Florida redistricting process conducted this year however was often contentious, as incumbent district representatives complained of political "gerrymandering," by reducing previous support from certain categories of voters and giving electoral advantage to candidates in other districts.
In Broward County, representatives of districts with a strong minority voter base protested the process, claiming that minority voters were unfairly stacked in select districts. Critics argued that this stacking process guaranteed the election of a minority representative, but potentially precluded the election of more minority candidates in other districts.
Redistricting of Florida's House and Senate districts also attracted complaints that the new maps protected incumbent candidates and political parties. It required a ruling from the Florida Supreme court in April to rewrite the Senate map.
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 July 2012 09:51|