Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)

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See also: Redistricting in Florida
Florida Congressional District Boundaries Amendment appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment where it was approved.

The measure proposed amending the current practice of drawing congressional district boundaries in such ways that they establish "fairness," are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries."[1][2][3]

Aftermath

Gov. Scott pulls back amendments

On January 25, 2011 Brian Hughes, a spokesperson for Florida Governor Rick Scott, confirmed that the governor pulled a request for federal approval of Amendment 5 and Amendment 6. Gov. Scott is reported to have acted three days after taking office on January 4, 2011. The paperwork for approval of the measures was filed December 10, 2010 by former Gov. Charlie Crist.[4]

According to the federal Voting Rights Act, the state of Florida is required to receive "pre-clearance" of changes to its election laws that affect minority rights.[4]

On Tuesday, January 25 Gov. Scott told the news media, "One of the things that we're looking at is the amendments that were passed, how they're going to be implemented. We want to make sure that with regard to redistricting, it's fair, it's the right way of doing it. So it's something I'm clearly focused on."[5]

"Census data has not been transmitted to the state yet, and the Legislature will not undertake redistricting for months, so this withdrawal in no way impedes the process of redrawing Florida's legislative and congressional districts," said Hughes of the governor's request withdrawal.[4]

In reaction to the governor's actions, supporters of the measures said the act was "shameful."[6]

Lawsuit: On February 3, 2011 supporters of Amendment 5 and 6 filed a lawsuit against Governor Rick Scott.[7] Former Florida Sen. Dan Gelber and current attorney for Fair Districts Florida said, "It's time to stop stonewalling. Governor Scott and Secretary Browning should not be abusing their power to frustrate the will of the 63 percent who voted for these reforms. The new standards must be sent to the Justice Department promptly to guarantee their implementation."[8]

In response to the lawsuit Hughes said that the governor's actions have not delayed redistricting in the state. Additionally, Hughes noted that the Florida State Legislature is currently months away from working on state redistricting and the governor is using the time to "have thoughtful consideration of the policy."[9]

Sent to U.S. Justice Dept.: On March 29, 2011 the House and Senate agreed to send the voter-approved measures (Amendment 5 & 6) to the U.S. Justice Department for "preclearance," a routine step.[10]

Amend. language approved: On May 31, 2011 the U.S. Department of Justice approved the language of the constitutional amendments.[11]

Brown v State of Florida

On November 3, 2010, hours following the November 2 general election, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Rep. Corrine Brown, opponents of Amendments 5 & 6 announced that they are suing to block the measures. Both lawmakers argue that the measure is unconstitutional. According to their statement, they argue "The reason is simple: because traditional redistricting principles, such as maintaining communities of interest or minority access districts, will become entirely irrelevant if Amendments 5&6 are implemented, primarily because of the Amendments’ requirement of 'compact districts.' Certainly, minority communities do not live in compact, cookie-cutter like neighborhoods, and so district 'compactness' would defeat the ability of the state Legislature to draw access and majority-minority seats, since minority communities would become fragmented across the state."[12][13]

In reaction to the lawsuit, Ellen Freidin of Fair Districts Florida, supporters of the two measures said, "I can't imagine how this can be anything other than more effort by politicians to try and have districts drawn with no rules."[14]

Both state representatives previously challenged the measures in May 2010. However, in late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to both citizen proposed redistricting initiatives - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6.

The lawsuit was filed November 3, 2010. The case is Brown v State of Florida, southern district, 1:10-cv-23968.

After the lawsuit was filed questions developed about the funds used to finance the legal action. According to a report by The Florida Independent Brown requested approval from the Standards Committee to create the "Corrine Brown Legal Expense Trust." The trust would accept "contributions for legal fees and expenses incurred … in connection with [her] official duties and position in Congress."[15]

"I think one could raise quesitons about whether this is a legitimate trust fund expense," Meredith McGehee, policy director at The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit analysis group based in Washington, D.C. McGehee added, "These trust funds are similar to leadership PACs...They essentially create another pocket for special interests to funnel money to members of Congress."[15]

According to a statement by Diaz-Balart the question of whether the Amendment lawsuit was considered an "official duty" was reviewed by legal staff and cleared. The trust was formed ten days prior to filing the lawsuit.[15]

ACLU files to join lawsuit

On December 16, 2010 the ACLU of Florida filed a motion to "intervene as defendants" in the lawsuit against Amendment 6. Of the lawsuit, Randall Marshall, who is representing the ACLU in court said, "We were intimately involved in the process. With the amendments having successfully passed, we have a continuing interest that they are fully implemented." The filed documents can be read here.[16][17]

Florida House joins challenge

On Monday, January 24, 2011 the Florida House of Representatives filed to join the lawsuit challenging Amendment 6. According to Katie Betta, House spokesperson, "The U.S. Constitution delegates authority to the state legislatures to draw congressional districts. The House believes its constitutional authority has been impeded by Amendment 6."[18][19]

According to reports, the Senate has not made efforts to join the suit.[19]

Prior to the 2010 elections, the legislature approved an additional redistricting measure but it was removed from the ballot prior to the 2010 elections by court order. The state's high court ruled in late August that the measure was isleading because it did not highlight to voters the effect on the state's district requirements and because it would undermine the state's current requirement that districts be "contiguous."

In response to the January 24 developments, Rep. Perry Thurston called the House's actions a waste of taxpayers' money to try to "thwart the will of the people." Others called the efforts, an attempt by Republicans to save their own jobs.[20]

Amendment upheld

On September 9, 2011 U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro rejected the lawsuit filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart. According to reports, Ungaro stated that she was unswayed by the arguments and had already written an order prior to the September 2011 hearing.[21] Additionally, Ungaroo noted that the amendment was a "valid regulation of the legislative process."[22]

Reports indicate that the Florida House has spent an estimated $200,000 on legal fees challenging the law.[21]

In reaction to the news, Brown said, "I am disappointed in the judge’s ruling. But this is step one. We’re going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court."[22]

U.S. Court of Appeals

On January 11, 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit heard the challenge against the voter-approved amendment.[23]

On January 31 the court rejected the challenge and upheld the amendment. The decision was made unanimously and can be found here.[24]

2011 redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Florida

As of August 2011 the Florida redistricting process remained ongoing. According to reports, the two constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2010 may tweak that process and impact Republicans in the coastal communities.

If the amendments succeed in limiting gerrymandering in Florida, many Democrats believe the change would weaken the state's entrenched GOP majority. Republicans argue that their success is based on ideology not partisan districts.[25]

The impact of the amendments on Republicans could be sharply felt in the state's coastal communities. Several of these districts stretch along the coast, uniting coastal communities but dividing counties and municipalities. Since the amendments require that county and city lines are respected where possible, these districts may have to be re-drawn. However, local Republicans argue that these communities share common interests, interests that should be respected in redistricting. The legislators most likely to be affected include: US Rep. Allen West (R-22), State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-91), and State Reps. George Moraitis (R-91), Bill Hager (R-87), Pat Rooney (R-83), William Snyder (R-82), and Jeff Clemens (R-89).[26]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Amendment 6 (Congressional District Boundaries)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,153,199 62.93%
No1,857,74837.07%

Official results via Florida Division of Elections

Text of measure

Title

Amendment 6's official ballot title read:

Standards for legislature to follow in congressional redistricting.[27]

Summary

Below is the ballot summary for Amendment 6:[28]

Congressional districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.[27]

Constitutional changes

See also: Florida Amendment 6 (2010), constitutional text changes
Florida Constitution
750px-Flag of Florida.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII
Amendment 6 added Section 20 to Article III to the Florida Constitution, which can be read here.

Support

The proposed ballot measure was supported by Fair Districts Florida. The Fair Districts Florida campaign said, "Politicians who control the Legislature, also control redistricting. They design districts to protect incumbents and to make sure they can maintain power. They make deals to draw favorable districts for their allies and they try to draw their political adversaries out of office. They pack large numbers of unfavorable voters in into a few districts to minimize the opposition’s chance to win. Florida needs Amendments 5 and 6 to establish rules to curb this effect."[29]

In response to arguments that the proposed measure would make it harder for minority access, Fair Districts Florida said that in the language for the measure it specifically stated that "Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice."[30]

Supporters included: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters (dead link), and the American Civil Liberties Union.[31][32]

Arguments

  • Democrat Bob Graham, former governor and U.S. senator, and Republican Bob Milligan, former state comptroller general, both agreed that the proposed Congressional and Legislative Boundary Amendments were good ideas. "Under our current system, elections are essentially rigged before the ballots are even printed. Districts are assigned to a particular party, and voters who will be favorable to that party are allocated accordingly. Or even worse, districts are designed to favor a particular incumbent...Florida has fewer competitive legislative elections than almost any state in the union," they said in a February 2010 editorial that appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.[33]
  • Ellen Friedin, a Miami lawyer who chairs the initiative campaign, said,"The whole point here is to draw districts that make sense geographically and that are not rigged to accomplish a particular political result."[34]
  • In mid-May 2010 Gov. Charlie Crist announced his support for both Amendment 5 and Amendment 6. Additionally, Crist said he was opposed to a similar measure scheduled to appear on the ballot - Amendment 7. Crist described the legislatively-referred measure a "silver bullet" that he would have vetoed. Crist's support for Amendment 5 & 6 followed his announcement that he was detaching from the Republican party and now "independent." In regards to the proposed "Fair District" amendments - 5 & 6 - he said, "Some people have gotten so rigid about their adherence to the party before doing what's right for the people, it's hurting our country. It is very obvious to me when these unkind remarks are made. I mean, what do they care what I do? They shouldn't care where I go to church. They shouldn’t care whether I'm registered a Republican or a Democrat...You're supposed to be able to do what you want and determine your own destiny."[35][36]
  • AARP Florida announced their support for Amendment 5 & 6 in late August 2010. "AARP believes that voters should choose their representatives, rather than having government representatives choose their voters," said AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham.[37]
  • Mark McCullough, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said, "[SEIU's] goal is really just to establish some fairness standards when the Legislature begins drawing congressional and legislative boundaries. If you look at the state of Florida, there are some crazy districts out there."[38]

Donors

According to October 2010 reports, Fair Districts Florida raised more than $9.1 million since forming in 2006.[39][40]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the campaign in support of Amendment 5 & 6:[39][41][42].

Contributor Amount
National Education Association $1.2 million
Christopher Findlater (Consultant) $896,000
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)[38] $600,000
Florida Education Association $600,000
Florida Watch Ballot Committee $500,000

Tactics and strategies

According to reports, supporters of Amendment 5 and 6 held a variety of house parties across the state in late August 2010. The 56 parties were sponsored by FairDistrictsFlorida.org and held across the state.[43]

Opposition

Florida Republicans showed strong opposition to both the proposed congressional redistricting amendment and the proposed legislative redistricting amendment. House Majority Leader Adam Hasner said, "It is a stealth agenda funded by the left to do in the courts what they can't do at the ballot box. This is the top priority of Democrats in 2010 and it must be stopped."[44] Lawmakers argued that the proposed measures could reduce election opportunities for minorities, which they argued was contrary to the measures' summaries.[45][46]

Arguments

  • U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown argued that both the Congressional and Legislative District Boundaries Amendments could make it harder for minority access and for "'communities of interest' to be preserved when Florida re-draws the boundaries for its seats in the Congress and Legislature."[30]
    • In September 2010 The Miami Herald quoted Diaz-Balart as saying, "These amendments will have the effect of bleaching the state of Florida as it was before 1992 when minorities did not have the ability to elect candidates of their choice. It's unworkable. It will have a devastating effect on minorities across the state."[31]
  • Sen. Mike Haridopolos described the redistricting amendments as the "full employment for lawyers' bill." According to Haridopolos, if the amendments were approved by voters it would lead to lengthy and costly court battles because of the proposed guidelines. The senator supported the FREDS 2000 program, a software program used in 2001-2002 by state lawmakers to lay out district lines. The software, he said, helps lawmakers be "contiguous and meet the standards of the voting rights act to draw district lines," according to reports.[47]
  • Sen. Gary Siplin supported an alternative redistricting measure, which did not appear on the ballot. "My review of the proposals suggests that the amendments set forth by Fair Districts Florida do not do enough to create or preserve majority-minority and minority access districts within the state," said Siplin.[48]
  • Dr. Daniel E. Loeb supported the need to address the "well-intentioned but poorly designed" Amendments 5 and 6. Dr. Daniel Elliott Loeb has a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT. His research interests included the mathematics of voting, mathematical finance, statistics and game theory. Dr. Loeb noted that Amendments 5 and 6 would inadvertantly result in political gridlock and "less competitive" elections. "Fair District Florida’s proposed amendments to the Florida State Constitution not only fail to address the current situation, they will make matters worse." Dr. Loeb supported the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment - Florida Redistricting Amendment.[49] The legislatively proposed measure was removed from the ballot following a court ruling.
  • John French, special counsel on elections law wrote, "Let's put platitudes and rhetoric aside and call Fair Districts what it is: a concerted and well-funded bid by Democrats to wrest control of our congressional delegation and Legislature. The claim that Fair Districts Florida is a 'nonpartisan' group is belied by campaign finance reports. Most of its funding comes from ACORN, big labor, trial lawyers and the other special interests typically aligned with the Democratic Party. A couple of liberal Republicans are thrown in to create the veneer of nonpartisanship."[50]
  • Former NAACP Chairman Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., joined the Protect Your Vote Campaign to express his opposition to Amendments 5 and 6. In a written campaign statement, the former NAACP leader: "I am categorically opposed to Constitutional Amendments 5 and 6...because these proposed amendments fundamentally violate the voting rights of all Floridians, especially minority voters." Also, Chavis challenged the supporters of Amendments 5 and 6 to draw up their boundaries using their methods to prove that minorities would not be affected.[51]
  • Protect Your Vote said that a partisan re-districting process would take place if Amendments 5 and 6 were passed. They argued that donors of Amendments 5 and 6 had donated money to "left-wing" causes[52].
  • Protect Your Vote said that the amendment's proponents were not from the State of Florida. They accused proponents of the Amendment of trying to hijack the state's redistricting process. Protect Your Vote claimed that the proponents of 5 and 6 bankrolled failed redistricting referendums in California and Ohio[52].

Donors

According to campaign finance records from the Florida Secretary of State, Protect Our Vote PAC received mostly large contributions since it was first formed[53]. As of October 30, 2010 it was estimated that the PAC had collected an $3.8 million.[39]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the campaign in opposition of Amendment 5 & 6:[53].[39]

Contributor Amount
Republican Party of Florida-State Account $2.6 million
Florida Association of Realtors-Advocacy Fund $278,000
Miriam Adelson $200,000
H. Wayne Huizenga $100,000
Florida Crystals Corp. $100,000
Florida Chamber of Commerce $100,000
United States Sugar Corp. $100,000

Tactics and strategies

  • The campaign in opposition to Amendment 5 and Amendment 6 launched their efforts on September 20, 2010 with the aid of U.S. Reps. Corrine brown and Mario Diaz-Balart. Both pointed to possible negative effects for minority representation should the measures be approved by voters.[54]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Florida ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Miami Herald was in favor of both Amendments 5 and 6, relating to amending the current practice of drawing legislative and congressional district boundaries. In an article, the editorial board wrote, "Taking the rigging out of redistricting and reapportionment would give voters real choices closer to home come election time...Amendments 5 and 6 will give control of elections back to Florida's voters, where it belongs."[55]
  • Orlando Sentinel endorsed Amendment 5 and 6. In response to oppositional arguments, the Sentinel stated, "The power establishment acts as if this would be the world's end. It wouldn't. It'll just help end the power establishment's stranglehold on voters."[56]
  • Florida Today supported Amendment 5 and 6. In an editorial, they said, "Like hundreds of thousands of other Florida citizens, they were disgusted with the rigged system legislative leaders use every 10 years after the Census to redraw political boundaries in ways that favor incumbents and whatever party holds power. The citizens’ initiative succeeded, and Amendments 5 and 6 will appear on November ballots, giving voters the power to force creation of fairer district maps. That’s a chance they deserve and should take. And one we’ve been advocating for many years, including when Democrats had a lock on power in Tallahassee and preserved it by drawing skewed districts to ensure they held onto seats."[57] Their support for both measures was reiterated in an October editorial, "The importance of passing the amendments can’t be overstated. Stand up for better government Nov. 2. Vote “yes” on 5 and 6."[58]
  • The Tampa Tribune supported both Amendment 5 and 6. In an editorial the board said, "The current system empowers politicians, not voters. Approving the proposed standards would bring order to the process. Wedges should not be driven between communities, counties and voters...Voters have good reason to support amendments 5 and 6. A logical electoral map that keeps neighborhoods together could reinvigorate a healthy election system where voters pick their politicians rather than the other way around."[59]
  • The Palm Beach Post supported both Amendment 5 and 6. In an editorial the board said, "Under Amendments 5 and 6, legislators could not draw districts "to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party"...To voters, these rules make sense. To the ruling political and lobbying classes in Tallahassee, they're terrifying because they could change a system that benefits insiders...Florida voters deserve more competitive districts and more chance to pick their politicians. Amendments 5 (for the Legislature) and 6 (for Congress) would give them that chance."[60]
  • The Bradenton Herald supported both redistricting measures. The editorial board said, "Amendments 5 and 6 drive a stake into gerrymandering by requiring district lines follow existing geographic and political boundaries and be as compact and contiguous as possible...The amendments — 5 covers legislative seats and 6 congressional districts — also protect racial and language minorities...The amendments are common sense approaches that put voters, not politicians, first and foremost. We recommend yes votes on Amendments 5 and 6."[61]
  • The Pensacola News Journal supported both Amendment 5 and 6. In an editorial, the board said, "These are the two most important amendments on the ballot, governing the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts every 10 years after the Census. Unlike many proposed amendments, this issue really should be enshrined in the Florida Constitution...These amendments are bitterly opposed by incumbent politicians of both major parties, which should tell voters all they need to know."[62]
  • The Naples Daily News supported both Amendment 5 and 6. "We are not naive enough to believe politics will ever be totally removed from redistricting. Yet, when we see an opportunity to restore some common sense to legislative districts that snake up and down our state — often connecting communities with few common interests — we say “go for it," said the editorial board.[63]
  • The (Panama City) News Herald supported Amendments 5 and 6. "If it implements these standards, Florida wouldn’t be setting an extreme precedent. It would be catching up to much of the rest of the nation. Forty-four states already require that redistricting adhere to local boundaries; 36 require compactness; and 12 prohibit protecting incumbents....Vote "yes" on Amendments 5 and 6, which will send a big "no" to Tallahassee politicians who seek to win elections at the drawing table, not the ballot box," said the editorial board.[64][65]
  • The Northwest Daily News supported Amendment 5. "AMENDMENT 5 would establish fairness standards to use in redrawing Florida’s legislative districts; the new lines couldn’t favor any incumbent or political party. This is common sense. Vote yes on Amendment 5," said the editorial board.[66]
  • The St. Petersburg Times said, "Florida is a purple state, not red or blue. Its elected lawmakers in the Legislature and Congress should mirror that diversity and work together for a state and a nation that are neither far left nor far right. The Times recommends voters approve Amendments 5 and 6."[67]
  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel said, "It's time for fair districts, time for voters to pick their candidates, not for politicians to pick their voters. Vote yes on Amendments 5 and 6."[68]
  • The Florida Times-Union said, "These amendments probably would make the districts a little less contorted - maybe a lot less so. That is why we recommend that voters should support the reasonable Amendments 5 and 6."[69]
  • The Ledger said, "Gerrymandering defeats the purpose of representative government. The Ledger recommends fighting it by voting Yes on Amendments 5 and 6."[70]

Opposition

  • Creative Loafing's Irreverent View was opposed to both Amendments 5 & 6. The editorial board said, "Irreverent View recommends a “No” vote on Amendments 5 and 6. The premise for these amendments appear well intentioned, however they were pushed by Democrat partisans who would like to regain power and who never had a problem with ridiculously drawn districts when it benefited them. Even if passed, these two amendments only provide “guidance” and don’t specify how the end goal is to be accomplished. The state constitution is no place to tinker with a temporarily perceived wrong. If citizens don’t want gerrymandered districts, they should demand better from their legislators."[71]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • An October 15-19, 2010 poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll 45% supported Amendment 5 & 6, while 21% were opposed and 31% were undecided. The poll surveyed 577 likely voters and had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.[72][73]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Oct. 15-19, 2010 Ipsos Public Affairs 45% 21% 31% 577


Lawsuits

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

In December 2009 Republicans announced that they were considering asking the Florida Supreme Court to block both proposed redistricting measures based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in North Carolina. In January 2009, the state supreme court rejected an initial challenge regarding the accuracy of the ballot titles and summaries. However, according to Republican lawmakers the ballots' summaries stated that the created districts could not "be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice," was misleading. They argued it was misleading because according to the North Carolina ruling only districts that exceeded 50% minority populations were exempt under the federal Voting Rights Act from North Carolina's provision that requires counties to remain "whole."[46]

Lawsuit to block Amendment 7

See also: Florida Amendment 7

On Friday, May 21, 2010 proponents of Amendment 5 and 6, citizen initiatives, filed a lawsuit to remove Amendment 7 from the statewide ballot. The suit was filed in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee and filed by Florida State Conference of the NAACP (dead link), the League of Women Voters, Democracia Ahora as well as former Republican comptroller Bob Milligan. "This is a trick amendment and it is a blatant effort to fool voters," said Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida.[74] Initiative supporters argued that the legislatively-referred amendment was a "poison pill" specifically designed to divert Amendments 5 and 6. They argued that the ballot title and summary were misleading and was hiding the measure's "true purpose."[75][76][77]

Rep. Dean Cannon, a supporter of Amendment 7, argued that it wasn't the legislative-referral that was misleading. FairDistrictsFlorida.org, sponsors of Amendment 5 and 6, pushed "claims and promises" that they "could not deliver," he said. In a statement Cannon said Amendment 7 meant exactly what was said and that the lawsuit was trying to argue "that the intent matters more than the plain meaning of the words."[74]

The filed lawsuit can be read here.

Amendment 7 removed from ballot

On July 8, 2010, Circuit Judge James Shelfer ruled that the legislatively-proposed Florida Redistricting, Amendment 7 would not appear on Florida's general election ballot. Judge Shelfer said, "I'm not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but it took me three days...to get a handle on what this amendment does." Shelfer added that the measure's summary was a "failure to inform the public is clearly and convincingly an attempt to hide the ball."[78][79]

According to reports, opponents planed to appeal the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. However, a final decision was required to be made by September 2, the deadline for measures to be added to the ballot before ballot printing begins.

In reaction the July 8 court ruling, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who supported Amendment 7, said, "If [the judge] found our amendment confusing, I can't wait until he takes a look at 5 and 6."[80] "There's no question that the Legislature drafted and passed that amendment with the intent of fooling the voters," said Ellen Frieden, campaign manager for Fair Districts Florida, following the July 8 court ruling.[80]

Amendment 5 & 6 challenged

On Monday, May 24, 2010 U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart filed a lawsuit against Amendment 6 in Leon County Circuit Court. Balart said,"Amendment 6 is riddled with inconsistencies and, if passed, would set unworkable standards in drawing districts." Both U.S. Representatives had previously testified against Amendment 6. Ellen Freidin, FairDistricts chairwoman - sponsors of Amendment 5 and 6, said the lawsuit by the congressional members was aimed at "playing games." Amendment 5, also a proposed redistricting measure, is not directly cited in the lawsuit. Freidin added,"They clearly haven’t read the language of our amendments. We specifically have addressed their concerns."[81] But both Brown and Diaz-Balart argue that Amendment 6 is not only misleading but would dilute minority voting powers in the state.[82][83][84]

On July 12 a Leon County judge denied a request by Secretary of State Dawn Roberts and FairDistricts Florida to dismiss the lawsuit against Amendments 5 & 6. According to July reports the case was scheduled to be heard on July 26 before Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford.[85]

Roberts asked the Florida Supreme Court to either order Fulford to dismiss the case or take over. On July 13 Roberts said, "the continuing proceedings in the circuit court not only interfere with this Court’s jurisdiction, but are consuming the limited resources of the Secretary and potentially interfere with her ability to have the ballots prepared for the 2010 general election."[86]

On July 19 the Florida Supreme Court halted the legal battle in the lower courts and agreed to hear the case. However, the high court was on vacation until August.[87][88] In late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to both citizen proposed redistricting initiatives - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6.[89]

The case number was 10-1362. Court briefings and documents can be found here.

Similar measures

See also: Florida Amendment 5 and Amendment 7
Redistricting on the ballot in 2010
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A nearly identical measure also appeared on the November 2010 ballot as Amendment 5. Amendment 5 proposed amending the current practice of drawing legislative district boundaries in such ways that they would establish "fairness," are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries." Amendment 5 and 6 were both sponsored and supported by the Fair Districts Florida.

In late April 2010, House Republicans proposed a Redistricting, Amendment 7. The amendment called for barring lawmakers from favoring a political party or incumbent when redrawing legislative or congressional district lines.[90] Supporters argued that the amendment would clarify the two certified redistricting initiatives scheduled to appear on the ballot. Opponents, however, argued it would undermine the two citizen initiatives already certified for the ballot.[91] Following a court ruling, the measure was removed from the ballot and did not appear before voters on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot.

Path to the ballot

See also: Florida signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

In order to place the measure on the ballot, supporters were required to submit a minimum of 676,811 valid signatures by February 1, 2010. In November 2009 the state division of elections reported a total of 375,170 verified signatures.[92] On January 22, 2010 a total of 681,562 signatures were verified, placing the measure on the ballot.[93]

Ballot order

As of May 2010, the Fair Districts Florida proposed citizen initiatives would appear on the ballot as Amendments 5 and 6 followed by the legislatively-referred Redistricting amendment as Amendment 7. Jaryn Emhof, spokesperson for Senate President Jeffrey Atwater said, "It makes practical and logical sense to position HJR 7231 with the other reapportionment amendments." Jill Chamberlin, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Larry Cretul, said "there’s logic to minimize voter confusion and provide clarity by positioning those three together." However, Fair Districts Florida campaign chairman Ellen Friedin argued that it was evidence that supporters of the legislative referral were trying to "trick the voters" in an effort to protect "their own political power."[94] Amendment 7 was later removed from the ballot by court order.

See also

BP-Initials-UPDATED.png
Suggest a link

Related measures

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Florida Redistricting, Amendment 7 (2010)

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. The Daily Loaf, "Fair Districts Florida makes it on 2010 ballot," January 22, 2010
  2. JaxPoliticsOnline.com, "Fair District Amendments Aim to Reshape Florida," April 11, 2010 (dead link)
  3. St. Petersburg Times, "A look at the nine amendments on Florida's ballot," May 30, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Orlando Sentinel, "Scott enters redistricting fight," January 25, 2011
  5. The Miami Herald, "Rick Scott moves to delay redistrict plan," January 25, 2011 (dead link)
  6. Associated Press, "Scott pulls back Fla. redistricting amendments," January 25, 2011 (dead link)
  7. Ballot Access, "Florida League of Women Voters and Others File Lawsuit to Force Governor of Florida to Send Redistricting Measure to U.S. Justice Department," February 4, 2011
  8. The Palm Beach Post, "Scott sued over redistricting stance," February 3, 2011
  9. The Palm Beach Post, "Groups sue Fla. Gov. Scott to move forward with federal OK of redistricting amendments," February 3, 2011
  10. The Palm Beach Post, "Update: Amends 5 & 6 sent to Justice Department after GOP delay," March 29, 2011
  11. Orlando Sentinel, "DOJ has approved FairDistricts amendments," May 31, 2011
  12. Politico, "Florida districting fight heads to court, as expected," November 3, 2010
  13. Naples News, "Brent Batten: Fight over Amendments 5, 6 heads to court," November 8, 2010
  14. Associated Press, "US reps. challenge Florida's redistricting law," November 3, 2010 (dead link)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Florida Independent, "According to docs, blocking Amendment 6 one of Brown, Diaz-Balart’s ‘official duties’," December 22, 2010
  16. ACLU of Florida, "ACLU INTERVENES IN LEGAL CHALLENGE TO FAIR DISTRICTS AMENDMENT BY TWO FLORIDA MEMBERS OF CONGRESS," December 16, 2010 (dead link)
  17. The Florida Independent, "ACLU moves ‘to intervene’ to defend Amendment 6," January 3, 2010
  18. Associated Press, "Fla. House challenges redistricting amendment," January 25, 2011 (dead link)
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Ledger, "Fla. House Joins Lawsuit to Strike Down Redistricting Amendment 6," January 24, 2011
  20. The Herald Tribune, "House asking to join lawsuit over redistricting," January 25, 2011
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Palm Beach Post, "U.S. judge upholds Florida "Fair District" law voters approved in November," September 9, 2011
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Miami Herald, "Judge dismisses redistricting suit," September 9, 2011 (dead link)
  23. Thomson Reuters, "Court to tackle Florida redistricting suit" January 10, 2012
  24. Associated Press, "Appeals court upholds Fla. redistricting amendment," January 31, 2012
  25. Palm Beach Post, "Fla. redistricting may favor Democrats; Rooney's constituency could change," June 20, 2011
  26. The Palm Beach Post News, "Florida Republicans wary of breaking up coastal communities in redistricting process," August 21, 2011
  27. 27.0 27.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  28. Florida Department of State Division of Elections, "Standards for Legislature to Follow in Congressional Redistricting 07-15," accessed May 13, 2010
  29. FairDistrictsFlorida, "What is redistricting?," accessed October 25, 2010
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  31. 31.0 31.1 The Miami Herald, "Lawmakers challenge Florida redistricting proposals," September 20, 2010 (dead link)
  32. Wall Street Journal, "Redistricting Creates Florida Alliances," October 2, 2010
  33. South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Take the power to draw new political districts away from the Florida Legislature," February 28, 2010
  34. Miami Herald, "Blacks split on redistrict proposal," March 13, 2010 (dead link)
  35. St. Petersburg Times, "Crist backs Fair Districts reform and bashes legislature's 'rigid adherence'," May 19, 2010
  36. Miami Herald, "Charlie Crist's redistricting stance riles Republicans," May 21, 2010 (dead link)
  37. AARP Florida, "AARP Florida Endorses Constitutional Amendments To Restore Voters’ Control Over Voting Districts," August 27, 2010
  38. 38.0 38.1 The Jacksonville Observer, "Fair Districting Effort Partially Bankrolled by SEUI," August 15, 2009
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 The Palm Beach Post, "PAC opposed to Amendments 5, 6 musters $3.8 million in a month," October 30, 2010
  40. 40.0 40.1 Sunshine State News, "Kurt Browning Heads Opposition PAC Against Amendments 5 and 6," September 20, 2010
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  47. The Gainesville Sun, "Software will help draw district lines," March 16, 2010
  48. Sunshine State News, "Democrats Divided on Redistricting," April 23, 2010
  49. The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, "Redistricting Reform: Florida's Ballot Iniatives Would Actually Make Things Worse," April/May 2010
  50. The Tallahassee Democrat, "Fair Districts Amendments are Bad for Florida," May 8, 2010
  51. Protect Your Vote PAC "Prominent Civil Rights Leader Speaks out on Amendments 5 and 6. Challenges proponents to draw up boundaries without effecting minority representation," October 11, 2010
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  60. The Palm Beach Post, "Endorsement: YES on Amendments 5, 6: Let voters pick politicians," October 1, 2010
  61. Bradenton Herald, "We recommend: on Amendments 5 and 6, yes BRADENTON HERALD EDITORIAL | Fair District measures empower voters, not politicians," September 30, 2010
  62. Pensacola News Journal, "Editorial Board recommendations: The Amendments," October 9, 2010
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  67. St. Petersburg Times,"'Fair Districts' will strengthen democracy," September 28, 2010
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  69. The Florida Times-Union, "Yes on Amendments 5, 6: A welcome change," October 22, 2010
  70. The Ledger, "The Ledger Recommends - Amendments, Referendum: Redistricting, Class Size; U.S. Budget," October 29, 2010
  71. Creative Loafing, "Irreverent View’s ballot recommendations," October 1, 2010
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  74. 74.0 74.1 The Herald Tribune, "Groups file suit on redistricting ballot measure," May 22, 2010
  75. Associated Press, "Court asked to take Amendment 7 off Fla. ballot," May 21, 2010 (dead link)
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  77. St. Petersburg Times, "NAACP et al sue to block Legislature's "sham" redistricting amendment," May 21, 2010
  78. Orlando Sentinel, "Judge throws out Legislature's redistricting amendment," July 8, 2010
  79. The Palm Beach Post - Post on Politics, "Court knocks redistricting initiative from ballot," July 8, 2010
  80. 80.0 80.1 The Florida Times-Union, "1 bill removed from ballot in redistricting debate," July 8, 2010
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  83. Associated Press, "Another Fla. redistricting amendment challenged," May 25, 2010 (dead link)
  84. The Ledger, "Congress Members Want Redistricting Initiative Removed From Florida Ballot," May 25, 2010
  85. Orlando Sentinel, "Judge allows Diaz-Balart, Brown redistricting suit to go forward," July 12, 2010
  86. Orlando Sentinel, "State takes fight over Fair Districts to Supremes," July 13, 2010
  87. Orlando Sentinel, "Florida Supremes stay lower court battle over Fair Districts," July 19, 2010
  88. Associated Press, "Fla. justices to decide redistricting cases," July 19, 2010 (dead link)
  89. Ballot Access News, "Florida Supreme Court Removes Three of the Legislature’s Ballot Measures," August 31, 2010
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  92. Tallahassee Democrat, "Petitions challenge district mapping," November 29, 2009
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  94. Orlando Sentinel, "Fineout: FairDistricts crying foul over ballot placement," May 20, 2010