Lawyers for the Legislature told the Florida Supreme Court in a brief filed late Friday that part of a state ban on political gerrymandering violates the U.S. Constitution.
The filing is the latest chapter in a long-running battle over whether lawmakers rigged congressional districts during the 2012 redistricting process to benefit Republicans. Voting-rights organizations argue that the maps were influenced by politics, contrary to an amendment to the Florida Constitution approved by voters in 2010.
A Leon County judge upheld a second draft of the state's congressional districts in a decision issued Friday, but shelved the new map until after the November elections.
The decision marked a major victory for legislative Republicans, who approved the new plan this month after Lewis ruled that their first draft violated the Florida Constitution's ban on political gerrymandering. The GOP had also pushed for the earlier version of the districts, approved in 2012, to remain in place through this year's elections.
The Florida Legislature met for less than 15 minutes on the first day of the special session on redistricting. Lawmakers are back in Tallahassee after a circuit judge tossed out the map they drew two years ago of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.
UPDATE: 10:30 a.m., Nov. 20: Keon Hardemon will be the next District 5 Commissioner for Miami. In the runoff election against Rev. Richard Dunn Tuesday, Hardemon received more than 72 percent of the vote. He will take office on Nov. 27.
In advance of Tuesday’s elections, City of Miami voters are reading up on the candidates, their platforms and track records, figuring out whom to give their vote to. But in the process, some constituents may discover they’ve been brushing up on candidates from the wrong district.
Redistricting last year may have had a role in making it more difficult for PIN members to name their state legislators. Above, a map showing pre-redistricting Senate district boundaries (in red) and current Senate district boundaries (in black).
The state Legislature, perhaps more than Congress, passes laws that have a direct impact on the day-to-day life of a Floridian: how much you pay in sales tax, how much time you have to vote, how you obtain a gun.
Tallahassee is in our lives every day. It's only 480 miles away. And yet, for many in South Florida, it might as well be on another continent.