POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The supervisor of elections in Polk County does not care how the updated congressional districts are drawn or who benefits. She just wants them drawn soon.
Her county has nearly half a million registered voters and more than 500 voting precincts.
“It’s just that there’s a lot to do. There’s a lot of moving parts. I figure it should take six to eight weeks to do the job carefully,” Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards said.
For Edwards, the next few months are split up into various deadlines. The primary is Aug. 23. Ballots need to be sent to voters overseas by July. They need to be printed by the end of June.
Filing deadlines for candidates are also approaching.
She says it takes up to two months to perform the work needed to send ballots to the printer.
“I would say the deadline that we need a map by would be the first week in May,” said Edwards. “Our job is to redraw the precincts to align with those new districts and, most importantly, change every single voter record in the state to reflect every new district as well as their new precincts.”
Edwards wrote a legal declaration on a court filing by Common Cause Florida, detailing the demands on her office during redistricting.
News Channel 8 has reached out to the governor’s office, the secretary of state’s office and various lawmakers on Edwards’ concerns and have not heard back.
Gov. DeSantis vetoed the legislature’s congressional maps, saying a district in northern Florida is unconstitutional.
DeSantis said he will only accept a map that does away with the current configuration of Florida’s 5th congressional district, a wide district stretching across the top of the state linking minority communities in Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
“We are not going to have a 200-mile gerrymander that divvies up people based on the color of their skin,” DeSantis said. “That is wrong. That is not the way we have governed in the state of Florida.”
The legislature is given the authority to draw district maps every 10 years based on census numbers.
In a rare move, leading lawmakers now say they will not prepare their own maps at a special session next week and will wait on the governor to draw a map instead.
“If the legislature follows through and does exactly what it’s saying it will do or that I’m reading it will do, that will be great news because it speeds up the process for us,” Edwards said.
The latest map proposed by the governor’s office would split Polk County further, from three congressional districts into four.
The legislature is set to hold a special session on redistricting beginning next Tuesday.