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Florida redistricting measures cleared the ballot but face a possible legal challenge

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November 4, 2010

By Bailey Ludlam

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: Redistricting measures - Amendment 5 and Amendment 6 - in Florida were cleared by voters by more than 60% of the votes in favor.[1] However, 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."[2]

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."[3]

Both state representatives previously challenged the measures in May 2010. However, in late August 2010 the high court dismissed challenges to two 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.

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