Leon County is divided. Neighbors in at least seven distinct Tallahassee neighborhoods are split between two Congressional Districts with the lines running straight down the middle of a road, separating neighbors, partitioning some into a Jacksonville-based district and sending others to one anchored by Panama City. It’s part of the fallout from the Fair Districts amendment and a game that politicos have played since before the founding of the republic. The Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office has sent letters and new voter identification cards to more than 115,000 registered voters informing them that they are now part of Congressional District 5, which runs from Gadsden County to Jacksonville — 89,000 voters remain in CD 2. Since March 15, the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office had to come up with 615 different ballot designs for the Aug 30 primary and move 7,000 voters to different polling locations from the ones they used in the March presidential primary.
The Apportionment Act of 1911 required congressional districts to be “contiguous and compact territory.” The same standard imposed by Fair Districts. Problem is, the legal standard for measuring whether a district is compact “usually gets no farther than a subjective assessment of ugliness,” according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
Chris Moore, assistant supervisor of elections for Leon County, explained census blocks are used to build congressional districts. The tradition of one-man, one vote and court precedent require congressional districts to have very little deviation in total population — 639,295. “Sometimes the census block’s geography does not always line up very well with real world geography. Ideally, you would have had this line over here to keep these people with their neighbors,” said Moore, pointing to a map that showed a boundary along Colonel Scott Drive that divides the Baker Place neighborhood.
Full Article: Leon: A county divided by redistricting.