Santa Rosa County seeks resident feedback on redistricting

Special to the Press Gazette | USA TODAY NETWORK

MILTON — Santa Rosa County is seeking resident feedback on the proposed redistricting that was presented at the Oct. 26 commission regular meeting.

The public input period is open until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4. Residents may review the proposed changes and provide feedback on the interactive story  map: https://tinyurl.com/SRCredistricting. The survey may also be accessed directly at https://bit.ly/3Gp6922.

Results will be presented at the Nov. 9 commission regular meeting.

The Florida Constitution requires redistricting after every decennial census to ensure an equal distribution of elected officials as the population grows and shifts. Santa Rosa County will redistrict to ensure the county is divided into districts that have nearly equal populations while maintaining community fabric.

The census is collected by dividing areas into census blocks, these blocks are areas bound by visible features, such as streets, roads, streams, and railroad tracks, and by non-visible boundaries. In the process of redistricting, these census blocks cannot be split in order to preserve social cohesion.

Redistricting determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a commissioner. Santa Rosa County is an at-large county, meaning county commissioners are elected countywide by all voters regardless of the district the voters reside.

Santa Rosa County has experienced a 23 percent increase in its population since the 2010 Census. The 2020 population for Santa Rosa County is 188,000. To make districts as evenly divided as possible, each district should have approximately 37,600 residents. This would be the target population. In past redistricting efforts, each district's population has been within +/- 5 percent of the target population.

To the extent practicable, district lines will be adopted using the following criteria:

  • Geographically contiguous districts (each commission district should share a common border with the next).
  • The geographic integrity of local neighborhoods or communities shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division.
  • Geographic integrity of a city shall be respected in a manner that minimizes its division.
  • Easily identifiable boundaries that follow natural or artificial barriers (rivers, streets, highways, rail lines, etc.).
  • Lines shall be drawn to encourage geographic compactness.
  • In addition, boundaries shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against a political party or candidate.

Santa Rosa County relies on the following two Florida statutes for redistricting:

  • Title XI County Organization and Intergovernmental Relations Chapter 124.01 (3).
  • Constitution of the State of Florida Article VIII Section 1 (e)

For questions or more information, contact the Santa Rosa County GIS Department at gisteam@santarosa.fl.gov.