By Michayla Savitt/Florida News Connection

ORLANDO – Reapportionment data announced Monday has sparked a conversation about a census undercount, and lower-than-expected Florida representation in Congress come 2022.

Florida was expected to gain two seats in Congress, but the Census Bureau said it will only get one.

Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, hopes for a more fair redistricting cycle than the last. She said in 2015, the Fair Districts Coalition pursued and won litigation to correct lawmakers’ new Congressional maps that were found not to follow redistricting standards.

“They were maneuvering the maps to favor their jobs, to favor their seats,” Brigham recounted. “And that is not the way it’s supposed to go. And so we are planning to make sure it does not go that way this time around.”

Brigham pointed out the Florida League of Women Voters is asking legislators to sign a pledge that they will be open, fair, and transparent during the redistricting process. She noted the new district is likely to be between Orlando and Tampa, but it’s not clear whether the district will lean red or blue.

Brigham added she hoped for more representation in Florida, and her League chapter looks forward to seeing the full census report in September. She also emphasized the impact redistricting has on state government.

“It affects where your legislators can run, districts can be changed, and a legislator can find him or herself in a new district with a new makeup of voters,” Brigham outlined.

Today marks a National Redistricting Day of Action, and League chapters across the nation are hosting events to increase awareness of redistricting. The Florida chapter will hold a virtual discussion today at 11:00 a.m. about the redistricting process. More details can be found at lwvfl.org.

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