Indian River News recently reached out to Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan to ask some questions about the new Precinct maps and help voters understand what Precincts are.
Below are our questions and Ms. Swan’s responses.
1. For the residents that may not be aware, what are Voting Precincts and why are they important for elections?
Leslie Swan: "The board of county commissioners in each county, upon recommendation and approval of the supervisor of elections, shall alter or create precincts for voting in each county. Each precinct shall be numbered. Election results reported to the Department of State are reported at the precinct level, as well as on our website. Election Day voting occurs within precincts, or at combined polling locations. The board of county commissioners and the supervisor of elections may have precinct boundaries conform to municipal boundaries. Voting precincts in our county also conform the congressional, state and house districts, and special districts."
2. How can a resident find out where to go Vote in their Voting Precinct?
Leslie Swan: "Each person who registers to vote in Indian River County will be mailed a voter information card. The voter information card contains the voters’ polling place number, name, and address. Voter’s may also find their polling place by visiting the Supervisor of Elections website at VoteIndianRiver.gov and select the “I Want To” tab select “Find My Polling Place.” Voters may also contact the Elections Office at 772-226-4700 to locate their Election Day polling place."
3. Voting Precinct boundaries are redrawn every ten years when the U.S. Census is taken by the Federal Government. Why are the Voting Precinct boundaries redrawn every ten years?
Leslie Swan: "As required by the United States Constitution, the U.S. Census has been conducted every ten years since 1790. All persons in the U.S. age 18 years and older are legally obligated to answer Census questions. The information derived from the decennial U.S. Census is used for reapportionment, redistricting and reprecincting.
The results of the 2020 Census determine the number of seats for each state in the House of Representatives. This process is called reapportionment. Reapportionment takes place on the national level where the 435 congressional seats are divided among the 50 states based on information gained from the Census. The Census Bureau announced the apportionment figures on April 26, 2021.
The state of Florida gained one Congressional seat. State and local officials use Census counts to redraw boundaries for congressional districts and state legislative districts. This process is called redistricting. The Florida Legislature redraws district lines for Florida’s 27 congressional seats, 40 Florida Senate seats, and 120 Florida House seats.
Indian River County’s Board of County Commission and School District use Census counts to redraw the five County Commission and School Board districts."
Once redistricting is complete for the Florida Legislature and also locally in Indian River County, the Supervisor of Elections gets to work redrawing precinct lines at the local level. This process is called reprecincting."
4. How can someone find out what their new Voting Precinct number will be?
Leslie Swan: "The reprecincting process is complete and the Board of County Commissioners approved the new precinct boundary lines at their May 3, 2022 meeting. All Indian River County voters will receive a new voter information card indicating updated district and precinct information in mid-June."
5. How can a resident request a new voter registration card if they misplace theirs or for some reason need a new card? Will new ones be distributed to County residents when the new Precinct maps are released?
Leslie Swan: "A voter may receive a replacement voter information card by providing a signed, written request for a replacement card to a voter registration official. Upon verification of registration, the supervisor shall issue the voter a duplicate card without charge."
6. When will the new Precinct maps be release? Will there be an online map of the Precincts in the County?
Leslie Swan: "The Indian River County Supervisor of Elections has contracted with a cartographer to provide our county with an interactive map indicating the entire county’s voting precincts. We are anticipating this interactive map will be posted on our website sometime in July. We are holding off on printing paper maps because the City of Sebastian will be voting in September to annex a large area of land and this would affect our current precinct map if the annexation were approved. For anyone who would like to view the written descriptions of the new precinct boundaries, they can email the Elections Office with their request for these documents at Info@VoteIndianRiver.gov."
If you would like to support the work of Indian River News, click here to go to our SubscribeStar page to become a Subscriber today. Your monthly contribution will help Indian River News continue its Journalism and News Reporting in Indian River County.