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Dissecting Florida's redrawn congressional districts

In a three-day special session, Florida legislators last week approved changes to the state's congressional map to address the concerns of Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, who ruled two districts unconstitutional. A hearing on the changes is scheduled for Wednesday.

But on the surface, according to a Tampa Bay Times analysis, very little has changed. While lawmakers ended up redrawing the physical boundaries of seven of the state's 27 congressional districts and moving 368,040 people, the changes could hardly be seen as significant.

"There was a lot of furniture that got moved around," said Michael McDonald, an elections expert who will begin teaching at the University of Florida this fall. "But if you replace a blue chair with another blue chair, that room doesn't look a lot different."

For this analysis, we'll focus on the two districts ruled invalid by Judge Lewis — District 5, held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and District 10, held by U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden — and examine what the proposed new districts look like.

What has changed with the new congressional map?

District 5 District 10
Politics 68.4% voted for Barack Obama in 2008 compared to 70.5% in the old district. 48.0% voted for Barack Obama in 2008 compared to 47.2% in the old district.
Voting age population Grew by 0.2% overall.
6.66% of potential voters previously in the district were moved, with most redrawn into District 7 to the east.
Grew by 1.1% percent overall.
18.69% of potential voters previously in the district were moved, with most redrawn into District 9 to the east.
Minorities (percent of voting age population) 48.1% African-American, reduced by 2%
10.3% Hispanic, reduced by 0.8%
12.2% African-American, increased 1.1%
16.9% Hispanic, increased 2.7%
Geography 3,500 feet at its narrowest point in eastern Clay County, growing to 48 miles wide between Alachua and Putnam counties.
140 miles long.
19.1 miles at its narrowest point in Lake County, growing to 39 miles wide between Lake and Orange counties.
66 miles long.
Area Grew by 495 square miles, now 2,031 square miles overall. Grew by 184 square miles, now 1,584 square miles overall.

Sources: Times research, Florida Senate analysis

Dissecting Florida's redrawn congressional districts 08/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 10:44am]
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