The Basics

The City Charter (Section 2.02) divides the city into four elections districts for the purpose of electing district commissioners. It also requires adjustments to the districts to ensure that they are in accordance with the State of Florida Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. The Charter requires the City Commission assess these districts within two years of each decennial census.

The Challenges

The drawing of electoral districts is often considered one of the least transparent processes in democratic governance. To ensure transparency and public involvement, the city has retained the services of an expert consultant to make it possible for everyone to easily draw suggested district boundaries for our municipality through a web-browser. The open source software is designed to give the public an accessible and easy-to-use on-line mapping tool.

Constitutional and Guiding Principles

The City Commission shall follow established constitutional principles for redistricting in accordance with law. With the exception of population equality and compliance with the Voting Rights Act, which are mandatory criteria, there is no order of priority among the remaining criteria, which are discretionary criteria and which the City Commission is choosing to follow.

Webinar on Redistricting Tool

Representatives from the City of Gainesville City Attorney’s Office and DistrictBuilder creator and UF Professor Michael McDonald, Ph.D. presented an informational webinar on the City of Gainesville’s upcoming redistricting effort in late October. The presentation gave an overview of the latest census data, the guiding principles of fair districting and a tutorial of the DistrictBuilder mapping tool. The open-source software platform puts the power of drawing electoral maps in the hands of the people, and helps ensure a transparent process. Neighbors will learn how to access and utilize the tool, and how to submit their own district maps for consideration.

Drawing Redistricting Maps

Are you ready to draw a map? Completed maps may be submitted for consideration by emailing the map link to

FAQs about the DistrictBuilder Software


Monday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.: Webinar via Zoom for neighbors showing how the district building software (mapping tool) works. Map drawing tool made available for public use on the City of Gainesville website. Webinar ID: 890 8756 6951 Phone/Audio: 1-929-205-6099

October 25, 2021 - April 2022: Neighbors may create and submit their own maps for consideration by submitting maps to

January 2022: Redistricting consultant (UF BEBR) will present three draft plans/maps to the City Commission.

Saturday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.: Webinar via Zoom and/or Cone Park Library for neighbors showing how the district building software (mapping tool) works. Map drawing tool made available for public use on the City of Gainesville website. more info...

February - April 2022: Host targeted public engagement sessions. Commission meetings to begin the approval process of a new district map. 

May 5, 2022: Final map approved by the Gainesville City Commission

2022 Election: First opportunity to vote using the updated district maps.

Michael P. McDonald is a professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and B.S. in Economics from California Institute of Technology. He held a one-year post-doc fellowship at Harvard University and previously taught at George Mason University, Vanderbilt University and University of Illinois, Springfield.

His research interests are in the areas of elections and methodology. His voter turnout research shows that turnout is not declining, the ineligible population is rising. He is a co-principle investigator on the Public Mapping Project, a project to encourage public participation in redistricting.
Daniel A. Smith is chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994, and dual BAs (Phi Beta Kappa) in Political Science (Foreign Affairs) and History from Penn State University in 1988. He is also the president of ElectionSmith. Among many other topics, Dr. Smith has examined the effects of ballot measures, campaign financing, redistricting, and electoral laws on voting rights and political participation in the American states.