A state judge’s order that Florida must redraw its congressional districts and propose a special election schedule for affected districts is good news for state voters, Common Cause said today.
“[On August 1st] Judge Terry Lewis again protected the rights of Floridians and rejected the legislature’s attempt to have one more election with congressional districts drawn for partisan advantage rather than fair representation,” said Peter Butzin, chair of Common Cause Florida. “Although holding an election based on fair and constitutional districts may create some logistical challenges, protecting Floridians’ right to select the representatives of their choice is a fundamental value that cannot be put off until next election.”
Lewis had ruled on July 10 that the districts violated the Florida Constitution’s prohibition against redistricting “with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent.” Common Cause is a plaintiff in the successful challenge to the districts along with the League of Women Voters and several voters.
Lewis agreed with the plaintiffs that holding an election using unconstitutional congressional districts is unacceptable. He ordered the legislature to immediately begin redrawing district lines and submit a new map by noon on August 15, 2014. Lewis also ordered the Secretary of State and Supervisors of Election to submit a proposed special election schedule for affected districts. A hearing will take place on August 20, 2014 on objections to the map and the proposed special election schedule.
For more information on redistricting developments in Florida, go to www.fairdistrictsnow.org.