Map could block more than 50,000 Sarasotans in 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/08/2021
County Commissioners Could Deprive More Than 50,000 Sarasotans of Vote
by Selecting Gerrymandered Map
On November 15, the Board of Sarasota County Commissioners could prevent a huge swath of Sarasotans from voting for their county commissioner in 2022, according to the analysis of a local citizens group.
“The Board is up to the same high jinks that landed it in federal court last year,” says Pat Rounds, a founding member of Citizens for District Power (CDP). “One map deprives as many as 57,000 citizens of the opportunity to vote for a dounty commissioner next year,” Rounds added.
The board is set to choose one of three maps to redraw district boundaries for the 2022 election during a November 15 public hearing.
One of the maps under consideration is known as the “Goodrich 2” map. The map, submitted by local attorney Brian Goodrich, denies tens of thousands of voters the right to choose their county commissioner for six years because it needlessly swaps voters between districts.
If the commissioners choose the Goodrich 2 map, two-thirds of the residents in the City of Sarasota, all the Town of Longboat Key, along with tens of thousands in Nokomis, Venice, Casey Key, Southgate, Forest Lakes, Saddle Creek, Myakka Valley Ranches and other areas will have to sit out another election to choose their county representative.
The voters will have to sit out the commission election because the Goodrich 2 map swaps voters around to make District 2 a safe seat for incumbent Commissioner Christian Ziegler, who is up for reelection in 2022. This year’s swap undoes the side effects of a 2019 gerrymandered redistricting that made District 1 safe for incumbent Commissioner Mike Moran in 2020, but made the District 2 seat vulnerable in 2022. A federal judge later called the 2019 voter swapping scheme, “political gerrymandering and hardball partisan incumbent protection.”
In 2018, Sarasotans passed a Single Member Districts referendum to make each commissioner more accountable to the people of his or her district, while sharing responsibility for the county as a whole.
Who represents you on the Sarasota County Commission is important because the commissioners have the power to decide growth policy, approve new development, and choose who pays for the infrastructure needed to support that growth.
“The county says it is redistricting this year to even out district populations,” said CDP’s Tom Matrullo. “They shouldn’t use redistricting as an excuse to deprive some people of voting for six straight years while giving others the right to vote every two years.”
Contact: Pat Rounds | 410-703-0477 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About CDP: Citizens for District Power is a non-partisan affiliation of Sarasota County residents who support county commission accountability by reinforcing the 2018 voter mandate for single-member districts.
Goodrich 2 would prevent up to 57,000 Sarasotans from voting in 2022