Florida governor halts redistricting amendments
On January 25, 2011 Brian Hughes, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Scott, confirmed that the governor pulled a request for federal approval of Amendment 5 and Amendment 6. 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.
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.
On Tuesday, January 25 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."
"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 Scott's request withdrawal.
In reaction to the governor's actions, supporters of the measures said the act was "shameful."
Amendment 6 is currently tied up in a legal battle. Opponents argue that the measure is unconstitutional. Most recently the Florida House of Representatives joined the challenge to oppose the measure.
Both Amendment 5 and 6 were approved by voters on November 2, 2010 by an estimated 63%.