Difference between revisions of "Redistricting in Florida"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(Supreme Court rejects Senate map)
(Maps signed into law)
Line 309: Line 309:
 
:*An interactive map of the new state Senate districts can be found [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://censusvalidator.blob.core.windows.net/mydistrictbuilderdata/4GoogleMaps/S000S9008.kmz here.]
 
:*An interactive map of the new state Senate districts can be found [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://censusvalidator.blob.core.windows.net/mydistrictbuilderdata/4GoogleMaps/S000S9008.kmz here.]
  
===Maps signed into law===
+
===Congressional map signed into law===
  
On February 16, [[Governor of Florida|Florida Governor]] [[Rick Scott]] (R) signed Florida's congressional redistricting maps into law. A coalition of community and voting groups are expected to challenge the maps. Meanwhile, a bill was proposed shielding legislators from subpoena in cases like a redistricting challenge. It would protect lawmakers and their staff "in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity." Opponents say the law is meant to hide the partisan motives behind the redistricting bill, but lawmakers say it is merely an attempt to clarify common law on when legislators may be compelled to testify. In other news, Congressman [[Allen West]] (R) plans to run in [[Florida's 18th congressional district elections, 2012|District 18]] rather than [[Florida's 22nd congressional district elections, 2012|District 22]]--West's district was weakened by the new redistricting plan. Also, per state law, [[Florida Attorney General]] [[Pam Bondi]] has formally requested a [[Judgepedia: Florida Supreme Court|state Supreme Court]] review of the state's legislative redistricting plans.<ref>[http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120217/NEWS01/302170022/Florida-congressional-redistricting-plan-approved ''Florida Today,'' "Florida congressional redistricting plan approved," February 17, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/16/2645740/with-redistricting-lawsuit-looming.html  ''Miami Herald,'' "With redistricting lawsuit looming, legislators want immunity,"  February 16, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Bondi_Asks_Florida_Justices_to_Review_Redistricting_139139519.html?storySection=story ''WCTV,'' "Bondi Asks Florida Justices to Review Redistricting," February 10, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-02-12/news/fl-kgcol-oped0212-20120212_1_allen-west-gop-state-representative-tea-party ''Sun Sentinel,'' "West's move anything but cowardice," February 12, 2012]</ref>
+
On February 16, [[Governor of Florida|Florida Governor]] [[Rick Scott]] (R) signed Florida's congressional redistricting map into law. A coalition of community and voting groups are expected to challenge the maps. Meanwhile, a bill was proposed shielding legislators from subpoena in cases like a redistricting challenge. It would protect lawmakers and their staff "in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity." Opponents say the law is meant to hide the partisan motives behind the redistricting bill, but lawmakers say it is merely an attempt to clarify common law on when legislators may be compelled to testify. In other news, Congressman [[Allen West]] (R) plans to run in [[Florida's 18th congressional district elections, 2012|District 18]] rather than [[Florida's 22nd congressional district elections, 2012|District 22]]--West's district was weakened by the new redistricting plan. Also, per state law, [[Florida Attorney General]] [[Pam Bondi]] has formally requested a [[Judgepedia: Florida Supreme Court|state Supreme Court]] review of the state's legislative redistricting plans.<ref>[http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120217/NEWS01/302170022/Florida-congressional-redistricting-plan-approved ''Florida Today,'' "Florida congressional redistricting plan approved," February 17, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/16/2645740/with-redistricting-lawsuit-looming.html  ''Miami Herald,'' "With redistricting lawsuit looming, legislators want immunity,"  February 16, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Bondi_Asks_Florida_Justices_to_Review_Redistricting_139139519.html?storySection=story ''WCTV,'' "Bondi Asks Florida Justices to Review Redistricting," February 10, 2012]</ref><ref>[http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-02-12/news/fl-kgcol-oped0212-20120212_1_allen-west-gop-state-representative-tea-party ''Sun Sentinel,'' "West's move anything but cowardice," February 12, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
===Senate begins redrawing chamber map===
 +
 
 +
The [[Florida State Legislature]] reconvened on March 14 to begin redrawing the state's Senate districts. The original Senate plan was struck down by the [[judgepedia:Florida Supreme Court|Florida Supreme Court]]. The Court found that eight districts had been drawn to favor incumbents and thus violated the state's [[Florida Legislative District Boundaries, Amendment 5 (2010)|legislative redistricting amendment]]. In addition, the court found that districts had been renumbered in order to allow select incumbents to serve longer terms.  Florida has staggered [[Florida State Senate|Senate]] elections--half of its Senate seats are up for election every two years. Odd numbers are up in one election and evens in the next. However, because of redistricting, all 40 of the state's Senate seats will be up for election in [[Florida State Senate elections, 2012|2012]]. Twenty seats -- those usually up for election in 2012 -- will have four-year terms. The other 20 seats, those not due for an election until [[State legislative elections, 2014|2014]], will only have two-years terms, preserving the staggered arrangement. However, by selectively swapping numbers, some lawmakers who had already served six years would have been up for another four-year term. Ordinarily, Florida's two-term limit restricts lawmakers to eight consecutive years in the Senate. In any case, lawmaker must now fairly renumber the seats and correct the eight offending districts. The Senate will take the lead in redrawing the chamber plan with the [[Florida House of Representatives|House]] deferring to their decisions.<ref>[http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/13/v-fullstory/2692029/legislators-return-for-special.html ''Miami Herald,'' "Legislators return for special session to redraw rejected Senate map," February 13, 2012]</ref>
  
 
==Legal Issues==
 
==Legal Issues==

Revision as of 12:54, 19 March 2012

Florida

BP Redistricting logo.jpg

General Information
Process:   Legislative authority
Deadline:   June 22, 2012
Total Seats to be Drawn
Congress:   27
State Senate:   40
State House:   120
Other States Redistricting Pages
Alabama · Alaska  · Arizona · Arkansas · California · Colorado  · Connecticut  · Delaware · Florida  · Georgia  · Hawaii  · Idaho  · Illinois  · Indiana  · Iowa  · Kansas  · Kentucky  · Louisiana  · Maine  · Maryland  · Massachusetts  · Michigan  · Minnesota  · Mississippi · Missouri  · Montana · Nebraska · Nevada  · New Hampshire  · New Jersey  · New Mexico  · New York  · North Carolina · North Dakota  · Ohio  · Oklahoma · Oregon · Pennsylvania  · Rhode Island  · South Carolina · South Dakota  · Tennessee · Texas  · Utah · Vermont  · Virginia  · Washington  · West Virginia · Wisconsin · Wyoming

Contents

This page is about redistricting in Florida.

Florida gained two seats from the reapportionment after the 2010 census. The state population increased by 2.8 million residents, or 17.6 percent.[1] According to a report in the Washington Post political blog "The Fix," Florida is home one of the top ten redistricting battles in the nation, ranking fourth on the list. Illinois was ranked first.[2]

Process

The Florida Legislature is responsible for redistricting. For state legislative redistricting, the legislature must first pass a joint resolution, which is then sent to the Supreme Court for review. If it is accepted, the plan becomes law. If it is not, the legislature holds a 15 day session to approve a new plan. If the second plan does not pass the Court or if the legislature fails to approve a new plan during the 15 days, the Court has 60 days to design their own plan.[3]

For congressional redistricting, a bill is passed in the usual manner. The Governor of Florida may sign or veto the legislation.

Florida is one of 16 states that must receive some approval from the U.S. Justice Department via the Voting Rights Act. They must receive pre-clearance on the counties of Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Monroe. Unlike the rest of the South, Florida's pre-clearance counties did not originate due to disenfranchised African-American voters, but rather because of Hispanic voters.[4]

Leadership

Senate

Chairman of the Senate committee on redistricting Sen. Don Gaetz said that the process will be open. Due to public meetings and the availability of redistricting software, he explained, "We’ll have 19 million auditors of the reapportionment process.”[5]

The members of the committee are as follows:

Republican Party Republicans (15)

Democratic Party Democrats (8)

Fasano resigns committee

Sen. Mike Fasano resigned from the redistricting committee on January 3, 2011, saying, "I just don't want any perception that I'm on the committee of reapportionment or redistricting for the purpose of drawing a district that would benefit me. Perception is everything."[6]

Controversy over Hispanic district remarks

On October 20, Rep. Luis Garcia (D) sent a letter to legislative leaders, demanding that Senator and redistricting committee member Alan Hays (R) apologize for his remarks on Hispanic districts in Central Florida. In addition, Rep. Janet Cruz (D) issued a similar letter calling for Hays' resignation. Hays came under fire after suggesting that any proposed Hispanic district ought to be vetted to ensure that its population is not inflated due to illegal immigrants. Opponents are concerned that this approach will be used to disenfranchise Hispanic residents in Central Florida, most of which, argues Garcia, are natural-born US citizens of Puerto Rican descent. Census figures typically undercount illegal immigrants since many refuse to fill out census forms.[7][8]

House

House Speaker Dean Cannon, while announcing committee appointments in early December, stated he would be delaying appointments to the redistricting commission until 2011 while staff analyze the impact of Amendments 5 & 6. In a memo Cannon said, “Because we are still developing the House’s redistricting software, analyzing the recently-enacted constitutional amendments, and building a redistricting timeline, I have decided to delay appointments to the redistricting committees until 2011."[9]

On April 8, 2011, Cannon sent out a memo to members of the House regarding their interest in serving on the committee.[10] Members were announced on April 18.[11] Democrats were immediately critical of their representation on the committee, which does not include Democratic leader Perry Thurston. Democrats are outnumbered two to one and this also makes them less influential.[12] While Cannon's office has said that Thurston did not apply to be on the committee, Thurston was able to produce documentation that he had written to Cannon last November, requesting to be on the committee and calling it his "first choice" of committees.[13]

The members of the committee are as follows:

Republican Party Republicans (15)


Democratic Party Democrats (6)

Public hearings

The schedule of public hearings can be found on the Florida redistricting webpage. The first meeting was scheduled for June 20 in the State Capitol. A series of 26 public hearings was held throughout the state and concluded on August 31 with a meeting in Clewiston. Audio and video of the meetings can be found here. Until November 1, the public could also submit their own maps online.[14] At the close of the submission period, 153 maps had been submitted.[15]

Census results

On March 16, 2011, the Census Bureau shipped Florida's local census data to the governor and legislative leaders. This data will guide redistricting for state and local offices. The data is publicly available for download. [16] New target district populations are 696,345 for Congressional districts, 470,033 for state Senate districts, and 156,678 for House districts.[4]

City/County population changes

These tables show the change in population in the five largest cities and counties in Florida from 2000-2010.[17]

Top Five most populous cities
City 2000 Population 2010 Population Percent Change
Jacksonville 735,617 821,784 11.7%
Miami 362,470 399,457 10.2%
Tampa 303,447 335,709 10.6%
St. Petersburg 248,232 244,769 -1.4%
Orlando 185,951 238,300 28.2%
Top Five most populous counties
County 2000 Population 2010 Population Percent Change
Miami-Dade 2,253,362 2,496,435 10.8%
Broward 1,623,018 1,748,066 7.7%
Palm Beach 1,131,184 1,320,134 16.7%
Hillsborough 998,948 1,229,226 23.1%
Orange 896,344 1,145,956 27.8%

Congressional Maps

Since Florida will be gaining two additional seats, speculation has begun as to how these districts will be drawn. Each district must have approximately 700,000 residents. The website Redistricting the Nation, run by software firm Azavea, ranks Florida's congressional districts among the least compact in the nation. Azavea points out that compactness does not necessarily equal fairness, but argues that it is important:
"A number of scholars have suggested that compactness measures are best used not as absolute standards against which a single district’s shape is judged, but rather as a way to assess the relative merits of various proposed plans. Above all, compactness is most meaningful within the framework of an institutional redistricting process."[18]
Figure 1: This map shows the Florida Congressional Districts after the 2000 census.

13th district

The current 13th District, which includes all of Sarasota, Hardee and DeSoto counties, along with most of Manatee and part of Charlotte, is estimated to have 750,000 residents, requiring it to be reduced in some manner. One idea is to split Manatee and Sarasota counties into two separate districts, where Manatee merges with the 11th and Sarasota remains in the 13th, picking up more of Charlotte and parts of Lee county.[19]

Increase in Hispanic population

According to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a major reason why Florida gained two new seats is due to the increase in its Hispanic population. Leaders in the Latino community are pushing to ensure equal representation.

John García, redistricting manager for the Latino Justice Program, stated, "There's no question the state gained congressional seats because of the growth of Latinos. The I-4 corridor represents the largest growth of Latinos in the entire state. We want to see a much more equitable representation of their voice in the Florida Legislature and look at the data to see if there could be a congressional district as well."[20]

Legislation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) introduced a bill in January 2011 to remove a variety of exemptions on records of the legislative branch. This includes drafts of redistricting proposals which, under current law, are not required to be made public until they are introduced as bills.[21] His father, Sen. Don Gaetz (R), serves as Chair of the Senate committee on redistricting.

Gerrymandering

Florida's 23rd Congressional district was featured in a Slate publication titled, "The Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts." There were 20 districts featured from across the country.[22]

Legislature to disregard incumbent residence

Republican redistricting leaders in the House and Senate have forsworn meetings with Congressional lobbyists and have ordered the residences of US Representatives to be excluded from draft maps. The decisions appear to be related to the recently approved "Fair Districts" amendments which prohibit partisanship and incumbent protection. Several US Reps have also decided to forgo hiring redistricting lobbyists for the same reason. If lawmakers make good on their promises, several incumbents could be displaced under the state's new maps.[23]

Meetings generate controversy

Speculation and criticism continues as Florida's public hearing schedule draws to a close. As of August 12, the last scheduled meeting is set for September 1. In July, lawmakers decided to delay the actual map-drawing process until after the public hearings had concluded. In addition, lawmakers are not permitted to give testimony at "listening tour" meetings. While this angered residents who wanted a chance to comment and engage legislators on actual proposed plans, other events have further incited critics of the hearing process. Notably, House representative Chris Dorworth (R) was caught on local news cameras using Facebook during testimony and his personal Facebook page revealed that he had "liked" a local plastic surgery clinic during the hearing. Dorworth apologized for "multitasking" during the hearing, but insisted that he found the presentations insightful. At other meetings, residents have complained that lawmakers did not seem interested in their testimony.[24][25][26]

Despite, or perhaps because of, these controversies, several of the meetings have seen crowds numbering in the hundreds.[27] While the anger over the map making process has been visible, some have suggested that partisanship, rather than civic-mindedness, is driving opponents of the process.[28]

Second round of hearings proposed

On September 22, Reapportionment Committee Chairman Don Gaetz said that legislators are considering a second round of public hearings following the release of redistricting proposals. Instead of touring the state, residents around the state could join hearings in Tallahassee via video conference. The possible plan comes after the first round of hearings received criticism for presenting neither proposals nor testimony from legislators.[29][30]

Activists push for a faster process

A coalition of organizations, including the NAACP, League of Women Voters of Florida, Democracia USA and Common Cause, sent a letter to lawmakers on August 10, urging them to accelerate the redistricting timetable. The current target for the legislature to approve plans is January 13, but the DOJ and State Supreme Court must also review the plans. The organizations argue that such late approval will confuse voters, allowing little time prior to elections. Speaker Dean Cannon (R) argues that the letter is politically motivated and contends that the constitution requires the bill to be approved in 2012.[31][32] Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich has also been vocal in challenging the plan's timeline, state that lawmakers risked "expensive special legislative sessions" and "a chaotic election cycle."[33]

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) argued that the delays were designed to hamper the review process. Even if the new maps are rejected by the Supreme Court or DOJ, argues Wasserman Shultz, time constraints on redrawing the maps could force the 2012 elections to be held in existing districts. Chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee Don Gaetz (R) called the suggestion a "partisan conspiracy theory."[34]

Committee releases details for fall schedule

After intense criticism of the state’s redistricting timeline, Florida lawmakers have announced a more detailed schedule for the creation of new districts. Redistricting Chair Sen. Don Gaetz (R) said the senate committee will begin considering redistricting legislation on December 5. Although it is too early to tell when a full will occur, Gaetz says he wants to avoid "surprises" and “gotcha” tactics. On September 19, the committee began reviewing public input on the new maps. The committee will continue accepting public submissions until November 1.[35]

  • Details on upcoming committee meetings can be found here.

Democrats upset by cancelled meetings

House Democrats expressed concern over several cancelled redistricting committee meetings. The meetings, originally scheduled for November 15 and 17, were cancelled after House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford (R) asked for more time to prepare draft maps. The House committee is now aiming to have maps prepared by early December--a move Democrats worry will prevent a thorough public inspection of the maps. Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz (R) expressed confidence that House would have maps prepared in time. The Senate, by contrast, has acted more quickly, finishing guidelines for the redistricting staff who will draw the maps and working toward a compromise on minority districts.[36][37]

Legislative Maps

Citizen involvement

The state has launched the website Florida Redistricting, which contains information on the process, as well as legislative and legal resources. As of February 27, the free "My District Builder" program is online and includes updated information on counties, voting districts, and census blocks. It allows the public to redraw district lines with the same tools legislators will use. A video on how to use the website is available on YouTube, as well as a March 6 video update. On March 25, updated 2010 census data was added to the site. J. Alex Kelly, staff director of the Florida House Redistricting Committee, explained, “If we can get an abundance of feedback, almost to the point we’re overwhelmed, we’ve succeeded."[38]

Gerrymandering

House District 78 was featured in a St. Petersburg Times article due its gerrymandered boundaries. Following the 2000 census, it was filled with so many Democrats that it hasn't held a general election for the seat since, because there has never been a challenger from any other party. Current Rep. Steven Perman called the district "incredibly oddly drawn," and said "I'm expecting the district will look like something different in 2012. And I'm OK with that."[39]

Lawmakers may struggle to protect incumbents

Observers are speculating that recent Republican gains in Florida may make it difficult to avoid pairing GOP incumbents. As maps are drawn, Republican legislators will likely struggle to avoid drawing GOP incumbents into the same districts given their increased prevalence. Such pairings could force fierce primary battles and allow Democrats to rebound from losses in 2010.[40]

Panel concurs on panhandle

As Florida’s redistricting process moves forward, the Senate Redistricting Committee has settled on its approach to panhandle redistricting. The plan, which has bi-partisan support, is to split several panhandle counties north-south with horizontal district lines. Lawmakers debated the move in light of the "Fair Districts" amendments, deciding between county preservation and keeping local interests together. Proponents argue that the plan keeps rural and urban interest separate, giving these interests their own representatives. Others worry that dividing too many counties may violate the provisions of the amendments. The committee used a citizen-drawn map, the "The Kelley Plan," as a starting point for the region.[41][42]

Committee considers northeastern districts

On Monday, October 17, the lawmakers reviewed public suggestions for the state’s northeast. Both of the suggestions for the region pair incumbents and exemplify the difficulty lawmakers face in redistricting the region.[43]

Senate releases proposal

On November 28, the Florida Senate's Redistricting Committee released its drafts of new congressional and sentatorial districts. Both plans appear to preserve the status quo for existing incumbents. Under the US House plan, Florida's two new districts are positioned in Central Florida. These districts were drawn as Hispanic majority districts, pulling Democrat-friendly Hispanics from existing districts. The end result, it appears, is that existing Republican districts have been shielded from rapid growth in the Hispanic community. A similar assessment seems to hold for the State Senate districts. Democrats argue that maps simply ignore the Fair Districts Amendments. The House is expected to release its proposals the following week. Notably, the plan does weaken the district of US Representative Allen West (R).[44][45][46]

Drafting and approval

Senate, House committees move forward with draft maps

On December 6, the Florida Senate Redistricting Committee voted to introduce its US House and State Senate redistricting plans. Further committee consideration is expected ahead of a January 17 floor vote. The committee gathered public feedback on the draft plans via the internet--accumulating around 500 responses. Although the plan has received praise for recognizing the growth of Hispanic communities, criticisms have been leveled at redistricting for US House District 3, Polk County, and other areas around the state.[47][48]

Meanwhile, the House Redistricting Committee released a range of draft maps for both the US House and Florida House. In total, seven congressional and five House plans were released. Although the plans increase the number of Democrat-majority districts, the plans also appear to shore up existing GOP districts.[49]

  • An interactive map showing the committees’ proposals can be found here.

Lawmakers prepare for special session

Florida's redistricting process continues to move forward. While maps drafted by the House redistricting committee are still being revised, a preliminary vote on the Senate committee's proposals could come as early as January 11. The 2012 legislative session begins on January 10. A final vote on the Senate-drawn plans is expected before January 20. US Rep. Allen West (R) has emerged as a likely victim of redistricting.[50]

Also, the Florida Supreme Court will accept written comments on redistricting. Under the new redistricting amendments, the court is required to review state-level redistricting plans. Details on submitting comments can be found here. [51]

  • All the proposed maps can be found here.

Session begins, committees pass Senate-drawn maps

On Wednesday, January 11, the Florida State Senate's redistricting committee approved Senate and congressional maps for consideration by the full chamber. The plans were approved after a Democratic revision was rejected by the redistricting committee. The alternative plan drew controversy since it was drawn by the Democratic party--despite a redistricting amendment requiring non-partisan maps. Democrats defended the proposal, arguing that Democratic committee members didn't have the resources to draft maps without party assistance. The revision may be reintroduced for consideration by the full Senate.[52]

Meanwhile, the House committee approved the Senate committee's chamber map and narrowed its own list of proposals. Final consideration of the proposals could occur on January 20. Democrats were critical of the remaining plans.[53]

  • House plans can be found here.
  • Senate plans can be found here.

Senate approves US House and Senate maps

The Florida State Senate has succeeded in getting largely bi-partisan approval for its State Senate and US House redistricting plans. The plans passed on January 17 by a 34-6 margin. Opponents argue that the maps gained support by protecting incumbents and, thus, violate the new redistricting amendments. However, redistricting committee chair and incoming Senate President Don Gaetz (R) defended the plans as the product of bi-partisan cooperation. Gaetz also argued that opponents plans would have weakened minority influence districts. The map is expected to favor Republicans--the GOP could theoretically hold 21/27 seats after the 2012 elections. A legal challenge is expected. However, some Republican districts were softened in order to accommodate the state's demographic changes. As predicted, Allen West will be among those weakened. The plans now proceed to the House, where a committee vote is expected today and a floor vote is expected next week. These votes will also address House redistricting. [54][55][56]

  • An interactive version of the congressional map can be found here.

House to vote on chamber maps


Senators Gaetz & Haridopolos discuss the final redistricting maps.[57]

On February 3, the state House Redistricting Committee approved a redistricting proposal for consideration by the full chamber. Proponents of the Fair Redistricting amendments attacked the plan, saying it unconstitutionally favors Republicans. Full House votes on the legislative and congressional proposals are expected soon.[58][59]

Maps given final legislative approval

On February 9, the Florida State Legislature gave final approval to the state's redistricting maps. The congressional plan now moves to the Governor's desk, and the legislative plan now moves to the state Supreme Court for approval. The congressional map, CS/SB 1174, was approved 80-37 in the House and 32-5 in the Senate. The legislative maps, CS/SJR 1176, was approved 80-37 in the House and 31-7 in the Senate.[60]

  • An interactive map of the new congressional districts can be found here.
  • An interactive map of the new state House districts can be found here.
  • An interactive map of the new state Senate districts can be found here.

Congressional map signed into law

On February 16, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) signed Florida's congressional redistricting map into law. A coalition of community and voting groups are expected to challenge the maps. Meanwhile, a bill was proposed shielding legislators from subpoena in cases like a redistricting challenge. It would protect lawmakers and their staff "in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity." Opponents say the law is meant to hide the partisan motives behind the redistricting bill, but lawmakers say it is merely an attempt to clarify common law on when legislators may be compelled to testify. In other news, Congressman Allen West (R) plans to run in District 18 rather than District 22--West's district was weakened by the new redistricting plan. Also, per state law, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has formally requested a state Supreme Court review of the state's legislative redistricting plans.[61][62][63][64]

Senate begins redrawing chamber map

The Florida State Legislature reconvened on March 14 to begin redrawing the state's Senate districts. The original Senate plan was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court. The Court found that eight districts had been drawn to favor incumbents and thus violated the state's legislative redistricting amendment. In addition, the court found that districts had been renumbered in order to allow select incumbents to serve longer terms. Florida has staggered Senate elections--half of its Senate seats are up for election every two years. Odd numbers are up in one election and evens in the next. However, because of redistricting, all 40 of the state's Senate seats will be up for election in 2012. Twenty seats -- those usually up for election in 2012 -- will have four-year terms. The other 20 seats, those not due for an election until 2014, will only have two-years terms, preserving the staggered arrangement. However, by selectively swapping numbers, some lawmakers who had already served six years would have been up for another four-year term. Ordinarily, Florida's two-term limit restricts lawmakers to eight consecutive years in the Senate. In any case, lawmaker must now fairly renumber the seats and correct the eight offending districts. The Senate will take the lead in redrawing the chamber plan with the House deferring to their decisions.[65]

Legal Issues

Litigation likely

While redistricting related lawsuits have come to be expected, the addition of Amendments 5 & 6 have led lawmakers to predict an increase in litigation during this cycle. To that end, the Senate increased its budget by over $9 million from last year in order to be prepared for the fights ahead. Senate President Mike Haridopolos explained “I let people know reapportionment costs a lot of money, and it will cost even more with Amendment 5 and 6. And we have to pay for it.”[66] The House, meanwhile, will not raise its budget but rather tap into a $30 million reserve of unspent funds from prior years. Senate Redistricting Chairman Don Gaetz said lawmakers spent nearly $10 million during the last redistricting cycle.[67]

Maps approved, lawsuits follow

Following the Legislature's approval of redistricting maps on February 9, state Democrats immediately filed suit against the congressional map in state Circuit Court. Other community and advocacy groups plan to sue as soon as Governor Rick Scott (R) signs the maps. Both contend that the new districts violate the recently approved "fair districts" amendment. Republicans, however, maintain that plans fully comply with the new requirements. Senate Reapportionment Committee Chairman Don Gaetz (R) noted that even if the maps happen to favor Republicans, that doesn't prove (for the purposes of the amendment) that the maps were drawn with partisan intent.[68]

  • The Democratic Party's complaint can be downloaded here.
  • A draft of the community groups' complaint can be found here.

Supreme Court review of legislative maps

Under Florida law, the Florida Supreme Court is required to review the state's legislative redistricting maps. Following their approval by the legislature, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi formally requested review of the plans.

Oral arguments scheduled

Oral arguments in the Florida Supreme Court's review of the state's new legislative districts have been scheduled for February 29th. Counsel for the state will have 90 minutes to make arguments in favor of the House and Senate maps. So far the court has denied opponents the opportunity to file alternative maps and requested the addresses of incumbent lawmakers.[69][70]

Oral arguments heard

Under Florida law, the Florida Supreme Court is required to review the state's legislative redistricting maps. On Wednesday, the Court heard oral arguments in that review. This is the first time legislative maps have had to conform to the "Fair Districts" amendment approved in 2010. As such, the court asked a range of questions intended to guide the court in interpreting the new law.

Attorneys for the state argued that the maps were drawn fairly, and that the lawmakers who drafted the maps did not known where incumbents lived. However, attorneys opposing the maps argue that the plan's pro-Republican bent speaks for itself. If the Court does mandate revisions, the legislature may have to hold a special session. The regular session ends on March 9.[71]

Supreme Court rejects Senate map

On March 10, the Florida Supreme Court issued a 234-page decision rejecting the state’s new Senate maps--approved by lawmakers on February 9. The decision also upheld the new state House districts and provided extensive interpretation of the state's 2010 redistricting reform amendment.

While details are still emerging, the Court found eight districts unconstitutional and also ruled that district numbers had been assigned as to favor particular incumbents over others. The Florida Constitution requires the Court to review legislative redistricting plans. If the Court finds a plan unconstitutional, the Governor must call a new session within five days to correct the district lines -- this session may last no longer than 15 days. The revised plan is again submitted to the court for evaluation.[72]

A number of official responses to the decision have already been issued. House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford (R) issues a statement praising his colleagues and commending the court's affirmation of the House map. Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich (D) said the ruling validated her warnings about the fairness of the Senate maps.[73]

  • The full redistricting ruling can be found here.

Ballot measures

The following measures appeared on the 2010 Florida ballot pertaining to redistricting:

Amends the current practice of drawing legislative district boundaries in such ways that they establish "fairness," are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries."
Amended 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."

Impact of the redistricting amendments

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.[74] 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).[75]

Lawsuit against Amendment 6

U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and Corrine Brown (D) are challenging Amendment 6 in court, saying it violates the Voting Rights Act and "represents an impermissible effort by Florida to limit the discretion directly delegated by the United States Constitution to the Florida Legislature."[76] They filed suit on November 3, 2010.[77] Brown's district in Jacksonville is 50% black, while Diaz-Balart's district in Miami is 70% Hispanic.[4]

On January 11, 2011, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that it lacks jurisdiction in the case, citing Article I of the U.S. Constitution, based on the state's 11th Amendment immunity.[78]

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, along with the Florida State conference of NAACP branches and Democracia Ahora, joined the case as defendants.[79] On March 1, five Democratic state legislators filed to join the lawsuit as defendants. They are state Sen. Arthenia Joyner and state Reps. Janet Cruz, Luis Garcia, Joseph Gibbons, and Perry Thurston.[80] In a press release announcing the action, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said, “Florida Democrats will not sit back and allow the will of nearly 63% of Floridians to be frustrated or delayed by those who simply seek to deny Floridians fair elections in fair districts.”[81]

Due to his involvement in the case, Roll Call named Diaz-Balart one of the ten most influential Congressman in redistricting.[82] Brown has been criticized for siding with Diaz-Balart. Brown's oddly-shaped district benefits from racial considerations that may be curtailed under the new amendments.[83]

House involvement

On Monday, January 24, the Florida House of Representatives formally filed to join the challenge against the congressional redistricting measure.

According to House spokesperson Katie Betta, "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."[84][85] As of January 27, Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) declined to join the lawsuit, but has said the case should be heard before submitting the amendments for approval.[86]

Criticism mostly came from Democrats, including Rep. Perry Thurston, who referred to it as an attempt to "thwart the will of the people," and Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith, who said that “clearly the Republicans are more concerned about saving their jobs rather than creating jobs for Floridians.”[87]House Speaker Dean Cannon said he is waiting to hear from the House's legal team before deciding if he will challenge the legislative redistricting amendment as well.[88]

Cost to taxpayers

Reporter Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel attempted to calculate how much taxpayer money had been spent by the House on legal bills for the Amendment 6 case, but was unable to receive an answer. Katie Betta, spokeswoman for House Speaker Cannon, stated, "We do not have a breakdown of fees for the Amendment 6 case." She was able to provide him with 47 pages of invoices showing that over $700,000 had been spent on all legal work related to redistricting as of February 10, 2011.[89] State Rep. Scott Randolph (D) has twice requested similar records, but has been denied. Cannon argues that releasing these records would reveal the state's legal strategy in the case.[90]

District Court upholds, appeal promised

On Friday, September 9, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro rejected a lawsuit filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart against Amendment 6. Publically, Brown and Diaz-Balart have argued that it would hinder the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. During oral arguments last week, their attornies argued that the fair redistricting amendment unconstitutionally curtails the legislature's authority under the Elections Clause and attempts to dictate election outcomes.[91] However, in her 22-page opinion, Judge Ungaroo ultimately found that the amendment was a "valid regulation of the legislative process under the Elections Clause."[92]

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."[93] Reports indicate that the Florida House has spent an estimated $200,000 on legal fees challenging the law. The League of Women Voters and other groups have since urged the house to stop fighting the measure and draw maps in compliance with the amendments.[94][95]

Amendment 6 has been tied up in legal challenges since voters approved it on November 3, 2010. The Amendment established new guidelines for congressional redistricting in order to ensure fair districts that are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries."

  • The full decision can be found here.

Brown, Diaz-Balart, and State House file appeal

On September 29, the Florida House of Representatives announced that it will join the federal appeal of Amendment 6. US Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R) promised to appeal after a federal judge upheld Florida’s congressional redistricting amendment earlier this month. The house has drawn controversy for joining the initial lawsuit and spending taxpayer dollars to fight an amendment that garnered more than 60% of the vote. Reports indicate that the Florida House has spent an estimated $200,000 on legal fees challenging the law.

Plaintiffs argue that the amendment unconstitutionally restricts the Legislature's authority under the Elections Clause.

  • The notice of appeal can be found here.

Arguments heard in appeal

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on January 10 in the appeal of Brown v. Browning. US Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R) argue that the US Constitution gives only state legislatures prerogative over the redistricting process.[96]

11th Circuit upholds amendments

On January 31, a panel of judges from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Florida Amendment 6 which mandates non-partisan congressional redistricting. The lawsuit, Brown v. Browning, was filed by US Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R). Brown and Diaz-Balart argued that the US Constitution gives state legislatures alone prerogative over the redistricting process. The Florida House of Representatives intervened as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. No plans for an appeal have yet been announced.[97]

  • The full decision can be found here.

Pre-clearance for Amendment 5 and 6

Governor pulls request for pre-clearance

Following the House's involvement in the Amendment 6 legal challenge, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott confirmed that the governor had pulled a request for federal approval of Amendments 5 and 6. 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."[98]

Scott has been accused by Democrats of ignoring the will of the voters, but has also been criticized by some Republicans. One of them is state Senator Mike Fasano, who, while he did not support the amendments, stated, "I shared many of the concerns of others who opposed them. However, once the people voted and passed the amendments with more than the required 60 percent of the vote, it is my opinion that we as a state must move forward to allow them to become part of our constitution."[99][100]

Pamela Goodman, president of Fair Districts Now and redistricting chairwoman of the Florida League of Women Voters responded to the Governors action, "We will do whatever it takes to see to it that the new standards are implemented. We will not allow our hard earned rights and the clear vote and voice of over 3 million Florida voters to be eviscerated by those intent on avoiding their constitutional duty to create fairly drawn districts."[101]

Governor sued

On Thursday, February 3, 2011, supporters of Amendment 5 and Amendment 6, including the Florida chapters of the League of Women Voters and NAACP, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott for pulling the request for federal approval.[102] Five residents of Monroe County were also enlisted as plaintiffs in the case since Monroe is one of the five Florida counties which requires federal pre-clearance. They are the only individual plaintiffs in the suit.[103]

Former Florida Sen. Dan Gelber and current attorney for Fair Districts Now, supporters of the measures, 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."[104] Read the full text of the complaint.

In response to the lawsuit, Brian Hughes, the governor's spokesperson, 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."[105] Lawmakers could not begin work until census data for the state had been released.

However, Erika Wood, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School, said she can see no reason why Florida would need to wait for Census data to submit the amendments for pre-clearance, stating, "In fact, the Code of Federal Regulations clearly states that 'changes affecting voting should be submitted as soon as possible after they become final.'"[106]

Following their receipt of census data on March 16, Scott's office requested, and received, a delay on the suit until April 1. Charles Trippe Jr, Scott's general counsel, wrote, “Defendants respectfully request an extension...because Defendants believe in good faith that this matter may be resolved in that time, obviating the need for any exercise of this Court’s jurisdiction.”[107] Supporters of the lawsuit took this as a positive sign that Scott planned on submitting the amendments.

Legislature files for pre-clearance

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon submitted Amendments 5 & 6 to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance on March 29. According to their press release, it was determined that the application submission should come from either the state Attorney General or the legislature, not the governor. Once the proper authority was established, they submitted the amendments.[108]

The authors of the amendments, however, are questioning the new submission, saying it "contains a number of statements that are clearly intended to undermine the intent" of the changes.[109] Along with their 1-page pre-clearance letter, Cannon and Haridopolos submitted 11 pages of how they interpret the amendments.[110] The GOP leaders said the original application did not take into account concerns that the amendments could hurt minority voting strength, while supporters disagree.

Dan Gelber of Fair Districts Now said he will most likely file a comment with the Department of Justice. Election law expert Gerald Hebert said he also plans to file comments, stating, "What they're trying to do is get the Justice Department to approve their misinterpretations. The Justice Department won't do that -- they'll simply say they either approve or disapprove the amendments."[111]

For his part, Gov. Scott said, "Despite pressure from special interest groups, I committed to Floridians that my review of the preclearance application for Amendments 5 and 6 would be thorough and complete. The action of legislative leaders today delivers on that promise."[112]

The Legislature has made all of the documents related to the submission available online.

US Department of Justice grants pre-clearance

After an extended political struggle over the pre-clearance of Florida's redistricting amendments, the Department of Justice has signed off on the controversial measures. The DOJ concluded that the amendments do not violate the principles of the Voting Rights Act.[113]

Partisan Registration by District

Congressional Districts in November 2010

Partisan Registration and Representation by Congressional District, 2010[114]
Congressional District Republicans Democrats Unaffiliated District Total Party Advantage* 111th Congress 112th Congress
1 (Pensacola) 233,628 156,141 83,012 472,781 49.62% Republican
2 (Tallahassee) 155,065 239,032 61,172 455,269 54.15% Democratic
3 (Gainesville) 70,163 228,600 54,489 353,252 225.81% Democratic
4 (Northeast border) 199,989 175,116 81,048 456,153 14.20% Republican
5 (Middle Gulf) 257,162 223,720 133,020 613,902 14.95% Republican
6 (Ocala/Middleburg) 213,976 199,238 95,129 508,343 7.39% Republican
7 (St. Augustine/Daytona Beach) 218,256 190,843 121,840 530,939 14.36% Republican
8 (Orlando) 169,976 182,031 102,675 454,682 7.09% Democratic
9 (Clearwater) 190,188 164,374 115,387 469,949 15.70% Republican
10 (Palm Harbor/Seminole) 158,514 152,625 102,524 413,663 3.86% Republican
11 (Tampa) 89,428 191,198 77,861 358,487 113.80% Democratic
12 (Plant City/Winter Haven) 162,168 187,980 98,301 448,449 15.91% Democratic
13 (Sarasota) 218,787 166,703 100,373 485,863 31.24% Republican
14 (Fort Myers) 239,758 146,573 115,810 502,141 63.57% Republican
15 (Kissimmee) 201,576 187,387 112,487 501,450 7.57% Republican
16 (Port Charlotte) 203,207 187,949 112,395 503,551 8.12% Republican
17 (North Miami) 35,576 245,682 62,374 343,632 590.58% Democratic
18 (Miami) 126,670 126,481 91,878 345,029 0.15% Republican
19 (Coral Springs) 112,536 234,543 112,231 459,310 108.41% Democratic
20 (Fort Lauderdale) 104,986 206,919 93,413 405,318 97.09% Democratic
21 (Hialeah) 129,001 122,451 87,448 338,900 5.35% Republican
22 (Boca Raton) 172,758 173,386 115,769 461,913 0.36% Democratic
23 (Delray Beach/Belle Glade) 48,112 231,325 62,200 341,637 380.80% Democratic
24 (Titusville) 193,865 179,342 114,655 487,862 8.10% Republican
25 (Southernmost tip) 133,905 131,418 103,994 369,317 1.89% Republican
State Totals 4,039,250 4,631,057 2,411,485 11,081,792 14.65% Democratic 10 D, 15 R 6 D, 19 R
*The partisan registration advantage was computed as the gap between the two major parties in registered voters.

Timeline

Legislators will be taking public testimony regarding redistricting in summer 2011 and will begin holding committee meetings in the fall. The 2012 legislative session will start earlier than normal in order to finish redistricting so that candidates have time to qualify for spring primary races.[115]

Florida's redistricting timeline:[116]

Florida 2010 Redistricting Timeline
Date Action
Summer 2011 Legislature conducts hearings around the state to get public input.
January 10, 2012 Legislature meets for 60-day legislative session.
March 9, 2012 Session ends.
March 10, 2012 Legislature submits the plan to the Florida Supreme Court for review as required by law. The court has 30 days to review the plan.
April 16, 2012 The FSC completes its review and legislature submits plan to the Department of Justice. The DOJ has 60 days to review the plan.
June 18, 2012 Districts are finalized.

Amendment suggested to change timeline

Florida Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Don Gaetz (R) has suggested a constitutional amendment to shorten the timeline for Florida redistricting. Critics say the current process unnecessarily delays final approval of maps into early 2012, giving the DOJ and citizens little time to process the maps by primary season. However, even if Gaetz's amendment makes the ballot, it will not go into effect until the next redistricting cycle. Besides moving the vote up, critics also want maps released earlier for public comment. Florida public hearings have been especially contentious given charges that public comments are not being taken seriously.[117]

Committee releases details for fall schedule

After intense criticism of the state’s redistricting timeline, Florida lawmakers have announced a more detailed schedule for the creation of new districts. Redistricting Chair Sen. Don Gaetz (R) said the senate committee will begin considering redistricting legislation on December 5. Although it is too early to tell when a full will occur, Gaetz says he wants to avoid "surprises" and “gotcha” tactics. On September 19, the committee began reviewing public input on the new maps. The committee will continue accepting public submissions until November 1.[118]

History

The Florida State Constitution of 1885 gave authority for the legislature to reapportion itself and provided for representation based on geography. Under this plan, each county could have no more than one senator and at least one representative, with the five largest counties allowed 3 representatives. When the state's population skyrocketed during the 1950s, this disparity led to a polarizing of the legislature based on rural versus urban.

In 1965 the case of Swann v. Adams declared the geographical representation provisions to be unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state legislature to reapportion itself by population. In 1967 a submitted redistricting plan was adopted by the federal district court that, for the first time, set up districts based on population. This resulted in a number of seats being transferred from the rural panhandle to central and southern Florida.

The state adopted a new constitution in 1968, which remains in place today. It provides for a Senate consisting of 30 to 40 members and a House of 80 to 120 members, with districts equal in population.[119]

2001 redistricting

In 2001, Florida gained two new Congressional seats, to be drawn up by a legislature where Republicans controlled two houses. Both legislative chambers were at their Constitutionally dictated maximums, with 120 House and 40 Senate seats. In the 1990s. the state's growth was surpassed only by California and Texas; the latter actually grew rapidly enough to displace Florida's place as America's 3rd most populous state. The state's legislature named a [[Florida State Senate}Senate]] committee to sketch boundaries for 25 U.S. House seat. Under that's Committee's immediate jurisdiction were two subcommittees, one assigned to each legislative chambers' districts.

Legislative districts weren't scheduled to be redrawn until 2002, a timeline made more confusing still by the fact that Florida's County Commissions planned to finalize maps of their districts around October 2001 in line with a requirement that lower level district be final by December 31, 2001. Tension started early among Democrats, who noted GOP dominance in the legislature and in the Congressional delegation - Republicans held 13 of the 23 House seats as of 2000. The sentiment among Dems was that the final plan would be decided in the courts. Nonetheless, minority voters, a traditionally Democratic bloc, soared. Hispanics grew 70.7% and blacks grew 27.7% in one decade; those numbers bear some qualification as Florida's large population of Cuban-American trend Republican.

Halfway through the 2001 summer, lawmakers met to begin the redistricting process, at which point alliances had already formed. For instance, Republicans in Naples cast their lot with Democrats over a shared fear that Miami-Dade and Broward GOP legislators, seeking to shore up their tenuous holds on Democratic areas, would plunder the solidly Republican areas around Naples. The preliminary hearings and public meetings ran through the early fall, wrapping up in mid-October. Simultaneously, a League of Women Voters headed petition drive took to the streets, gathering signatures in favor of an amendment to remove redistricting power from the legislature. To place such a proposed amendment before the voters in 2002, just under 490,000 signatures were needed. As petition efforts ramped up, several Congressmen sent lobbyists to the state Capitol in bids to save their districts and minority Democrats criticized the installation of a keypad lock on the 3rd floor Capitol work room used for redistricting, a real barrier to transparency in redistricting and a questionable public image.

State Republicans finally came forward with their first two maps at the beginning of December 2001. To no one's surprise, the maps made both new Congressional seats into safe Republican seats. The maps also managed to shore up weak Republicans and take square aim at a pair of weak Democrats.[120]

Sitting six weeks early for the 2002 session, the legislature hoped to complete the district maps in the regular session, a tall order for a 60 day calendar. Additionally pressing on legislators was Florida's inclusion on the U.S. Justice Department's list of state required to pre-clear their maps in compliance with the Voting Rights Acts.[121] Four weeks into the extended session, Senate Republicans produced their first map, which was decried for short-changing minorities. A competing House plan was assessed as creating a friendly seat for the ambitious House Speaker at the expense of the current Congressional delegation. Competition between the House and Senate plans soon tapped into the existing feuds between the two chambers and became a public embarrassment.

On January 25, 2002, only three days after the legislative session officially convened, the first lawsuit hit. Three black Congressmen sued, asking Florida's courts to step in an take over drawing maps, contending the legislative process was hopelessly compromised so long as it remained in Republican hands. The next day, the Senate fired a tacit rebuttal, approving a Congressional map that favored the GOP. At the beginning of February, the House moved its own GOP friendly bill out of committee, fastracking it for a vote before the entire House. Meanwhile, House Democrats had sued in the U.S. District Court for Miami, again seeking to have the courts take over redistricting. In early March,as the House debated a combined plan to redraw Congressional and Legislative seats, the minority's lawyers, in the process of suing the legislature as they were, were declined in a bid to be present on the floor during debate as partisan counsel.

Each Democratic amendment offered was voted down and the plan passed overwhelmingly on partisan lines. Senate approval followed before the month was out.[122]

In 2001, legislative redistricting plans were initially rejected by the Justice Department because they diluted the power of minorities to elect their candidates of choice.[123] By the end of April, the matter was before the Florida Supreme Court, which had two weeks to endorse the maps or reject them and demand amendments ahead of the 2002 midterm elections. Coinciding with the Supreme Court's May 8, 2002 deadline was the work of a three-member panel of Federal judges, independently scrutinizing the Congressional map at the behest of the earlier Democratic lawsuit.

The Florida Supreme Court approved the Congressional plan while the Federal Court calendared a June 3, 2002 trial over the same map. The earlier ruling did not stay uncontested long, as the Democratic Attorney General of Florida Bob Butterworth sued in the Washington, DC Federal Court, seeking the have the map thrown out and the matter turned over to the judicial branch. Florida Republicans accused the Attorney General of trying to delay elections and pointed out that Butterworth had been quiet about redistricting issues a decade earlier when his party controlled the process. Then Governor Jeb Bush chose to file the map with the Justice Department without involving Butterworth, a deliberate snub given the Attorney General's traditional role in filing redistricting plans. Governor Bush and his top aides had no compunction in saying they felt they could not trust Butterworth, a dig repaid when Butterworth suggested Florida's map would be too lightly treated given the President's family relationship with the Governor. For good measure, Butterworth named top George Bush aide John Ashcroft as a defendant.

The trial ran through June 21, 2002, and saw Democrats testify to shabby treatment from the majority party and ostracization from redistricting. On July 8, 2002, the judges ruled they would take over drawing boundaries, but only for state House seats in a few districts. Meanwhile, the Justice Department rejected the map for violating the Voting Rights Act regarding Hispanic voters in Collier County. The Speaker of the Florida House hastily redrew the map and won approval from the panel of judges the next day, clearing the map to be resubmitted to the Justice Department. That fall, the GOP held its trifecta along with the three cabinet level offices in the executive branch, though both U.S. Senate seats went to Democrats.[124]

Deviation from "Ideal Districts"

2000 Population Deviation[125]
Office Percentage
Congressional Districts 0.00%
State House Districts 2.79%
State Senate Districts 0.03%
Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.

Lawsuits related to the 2000 Census

There were three lawsuits related to the Florida 2000 census redistricting process.[126]

  • Brown v. Butterworth, No. ___________ (Fla. Cir. Ct. Broward Co. June 17, 2002) : State circuit court Judge Robert Lance Andrews ruled that only a federal court has jurisdiction to decide whether the new congressional districts enacted into law are constitutional.
  • Martinez v. Bush, No. 02-20244-CIV-JORDAN (S.D. Fla. July 9, 2002) : A three-judge panel upheld the congressional and state House plans against alleged Section 2 violations.
  • Martinez v. Bush, 234 F. Supp.2d 1275 (S.D. Fla. Dec.3, 2002) : A three-judge panel upheld the congressional and state Senate and House plans against alleged violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Constitutional explanation

With respect to redistricting, the Florida Constitution provides authority to the legislature in Section 16 of Article III.

Additionally, passage of Florida Legislative District Boundaries, Amendment 5 (2010) added Section 21 to Article III, while passage of Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010) added Section 20.

See also

External links

References

  1. Naples News, "Florida picks up 2 congressional seats, 2010 Census shows," December 21, 2010
  2. Washington Post, "The Fix," "Redistricting battles hit a fever pitch," June 3, 2011
  3. Rose Report, "Florida Redistricting: The Complete Analysis," February 22, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida Trend, "Redistricting: Free-for-All in Florida," March 1, 2011
  5. News Herald, "Redistricting: 'It isn't pretty'," March 6, 2011
  6. Hernando Today, "Fasano resigns from redistricting committee," January 4, 2011
  7. Miami Herald, "Dems demand Hays resign from redistricting commission, apologize," October 20, 2011
  8. Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, "State Senator’s Comments Highlight Controversial Redistricting Process," October 24, 2011
  9. Orlando Sentinel, "Cannon taps committee chairs, delays redistricting appointments," December 7, 2010
  10. Speaker of the House, "Memo on redistricting committee members," April 8, 2011
  11. Miami Herald, "House names its redistricting committees: Weatherford chairs," April 19, 2011
  12. Palm Beach Post, "House redistricting panel makes first moves, fights to follow later," April 20, 2011
  13. Orlando Sentinel, "Get ready for the start of the redistricting war," April 22, 2011
  14. Miami Herald, "Nov. 1 deadline for Florida redistricting plans," September 9, 2011
  15. ABC Action News, "Florida lawmakers begin redistricting process," November 4, 2011
  16. PR Newswire, "Census Bureau Ships Local 2010 Census Data to Florida," March 16, 2011
  17. U.S. Census Bureau, "Florida Custom tables 2010," accessed March 17, 2011
  18. Florida Independent, "Redistricting website: Florida’s congressional districts rank among the nation’s least compact," January 31, 2011
  19. Herald Tribune, "Sarasota and Manatee in separate Congressional districts?," December 22, 2010
  20. Orlando Sentinel, "Latino leaders: Hispanic growth deserves new congressional districts," January 15, 2011
  21. The Florida Independent, "Bill would make redistricting proposals public records," January 31, 2011
  22. Slate "The Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts," November 10, 2010
  23. Orlando Sentinel, "Butt out on redistricting, Florida legislators tell Congress," July 6, 2011
  24. Orlando Sentinel, "Scott Maxwell: Residents take to streets, but Dorworth took to Facebook," July 29, 2011
  25. Main Street, "Word on the Street: Redistricting Dog and Pony Show," accessed August 15, 2011
  26. Miami Herald, "Legislators hear drumbeat of complaints over timeline, cost of redistricting," August 28, 2011
  27. Naples Daily News, "Hundreds show up to debate state redistricting," August 31, 2011
  28. Tampa Bay Online, "Redistricting panel can't win," September 1, 2011
  29. Florida Courier, "Second round of Florida redistricting hearings possible," September 1, 2011
  30. Miami Herald, "Public to get 'second bite' at Fla. redistricting," September 29, 2011
  31. Florida Courier, "Florida voting-rights groups call for quicker redistricting," August 10, 2011
  32. Sun Sentinel, "Lawmakers must stop dithering, get the job done," September 6, 2011
  33. Sunshine State News, "Senate Leaders Andy Gardiner and Nan Rich Spar Over Redistricting," September 8, 2011
  34. Sun Sentinel, "Republican leader dismisses Wasserman Schultz thoughts on redistricting as ‘wild’ conspiracy theory," September 2, 2011
  35. Southeast AGNET, "Florida Senate Redistricting Plan Coming in December," September 22, 2011
  36. The Miami Herald, "House Democrats frustrated by canceled redistricting meetings," November 15, 2011
  37. News Press, "As Fla. House scuffles on redistricting, Senate moves closer to plan," November 15, 2011
  38. Stateline, "The rise of do-it-yourself redistricting," February 3, 2011
  39. Orlando Sentinel "House District 78: A lesson on redistricting," April 5, 2011
  40. The Palm Beach Post, "Florida's redistricting could pit Republicans against fellow Republicans," August 7, 2011
  41. Miami Herald, "Senate redistricting committee agrees: Panhandle will be divided North and South," October 5, 2011
  42. The Destin Log, "Senate redistricting proposed maps," October 6, 2011
  43. Florida Times-Union, "Early look at Florida redistricting: Some incumbents might be in trouble," October 18, 2011
  44. Palm Beach Post, "Redistricting proposal by Florida's GOP-run Senate doesn't look good for U.S. Rep. West," November 30, 2011
  45. Orlando Sentinel, "New political maps shore up Republican incumbents," November 29, 2011
  46. WTSP, "Florida Democrats say the state Senate's plans for Congressional redistricting 'ignore the Florida Constitution'," November 30, 2011
  47. Miami Herald, "Fla. Senate panel introduces redistricting plans," December 6, 2011
  48. Miami Herald, "Senate redistricting maps appear headed for swift approval," December 6, 2011
  49. [Orlando Sentinel, "Check out the Legislature’s redistricting handiwork," December 6, 2011]
  50. Miami Herald, "House tweaks its redistricting maps; Senate schedules its vote," January 4, 2012
  51. Huffington Post, "Allen West, Florida Republican, May Be Victim To Redistricting By Own Party," January 5, 2012
  52. Florida Times-Union, "Florida Senate panel OKs redistricting maps after partisan spat," January 12, 2012
  53. Tampa Bay Online, "Florida House narrows number of proposed redistricting maps," January 9, 2012
  54. Tampa Bay Times, "Florida Senate approves two redistricting maps," January 18, 2012
  55. Miami Herald, "House panel approves Florida redistricting plans," January 27, 2012
  56. The Washington Post, "Breaking down the Florida GOP’s redistricting map," January 26, 2012
  57. newsserviceflorida, YouTube channel
  58. South Florida Times, "House Panel Approved Florida Redistricting Plans," February 3, 2012
  59. Miamia Herald, "House voting on Florida redistricting plans," February 2, 2012
  60. Miami Herald, "Florida redistricting plans get final passage," February 9, 2012
  61. Florida Today, "Florida congressional redistricting plan approved," February 17, 2012
  62. Miami Herald, "With redistricting lawsuit looming, legislators want immunity," February 16, 2012
  63. WCTV, "Bondi Asks Florida Justices to Review Redistricting," February 10, 2012
  64. Sun Sentinel, "West's move anything but cowardice," February 12, 2012
  65. Miami Herald, "Legislators return for special session to redraw rejected Senate map," February 13, 2012
  66. Orlando Sentinel "The Senate's extra $10 million for redistricting, and the House's 'secret' slush fund," May 3, 2011
  67. Palm Beach Post "Florida lawmakers quietly stockpile millions to pay legal fees in upcoming partisan redistricting battle," May 4, 2011
  68. Miami Herald, "Florida redistricting plans get final passage," February 9, 2012
  69. Miami Herald, "Another divided opinion on redistricting from the Supremes," February 22, 2012
  70. Orlando Sentinel, "Supremes set 90-per-side minutes of oral arguments on redistricting," February 20, 2012
  71. Tallahassee.com, "Redistricting challenges hold oral arguments before Florida Supreme Court," February 29, 2012
  72. WJHJ, "Florida Supreme Court Justices Reject Senate Redistricting Plan," March 9, 2012
  73. Orlando Sentinel, "A bi-cameral response to Supreme Court redisticting ruling," March 9, 2012
  74. Palm Beach Post, "Fla. redistricting may favor Democrats; Rooney's constituency could change," June 20, 2011
  75. The Palm Beach Post News, "Florida Republicans wary of breaking up coastal communities in redistricting process," August 21, 2011
  76. Legal News Line, "Florida AG wants congressional redistricting lawsuit tossed", January 14
  77. TCPalm, "Florida to get 2 more seats in House in 2012 based on 2010 Census counts," December 21, 2010
  78. Florida Independent, "Bondi asks court to dismiss anti-Amendment 6 lawsuit," January 12, 2011
  79. South Florida Times, "Lawsuits challenge Fla. redistricting changes," February 25, 2011
  80. The American Independent, "Democrats stand up for ‘Fair Districts’ amendment in court," March 2, 2011
  81. Florida Democrats Newsroom, "Florida Democratic Legislators Fight To Protect Will Of Voters On Standards Of Fairness Enshrined In Constitution," March 2, 2011
  82. Roll Call, "Top 10 Power Brokers in Redistricting," May 12, 2011
  83. Miami Herald, "Florida Democrats divided on redistricting, black representation," May 15, 2011
  84. Associated Press,"Fla. House challenges redistricting amendment," January 25, 2011
  85. The Ledger,"Fla. House Joins Lawsuit to Strike Down Redistricting Amendment 6," January 24, 2011
  86. Florida Independent, "Haridopolos on redistricting: ‘Inherent contradictions’ in ‘Fair Districts’ amendments," January 27, 2011
  87. Herald Tribune, "House wants freedom from redistricting rules," January 24, 2011
  88. Miami Herald "Cannon: No plan to challenge 2nd remapping measure," January 29, 2011
  89. Orlando Sentinel, "You're spending $300 an hour to overturn your own vote," February 10, 2011
  90. Sunshine State News, "Rep. Randolph Wants Billing Records for Redistricting Lawsuit," August 11, 2011
  91. Florida Courier, "Path not taken for redistricting suits, voting rights," September 12, 2011
  92. Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Upholds Florida Initiative Telling Legislature that Redistricting Must be Non-Partisan," September 9, 2011
  93. The Miami Herald,"Judge dismisses redistricting suit," September 9, 2011
  94. The Palm Beach Post,’’ “Commentary: League of Women Voters asks legislators to stop attacking, start drawing,” September 11, 2011
  95. Sun Sentinel, "Fair Districts groups want Cannon to drop taxpayer-funded legal challenge," September 14, 2011
  96. Thomson Reuters, "Court to tackle Florida redistricting suit," January 10, 2012
  97. Ballot Access News, "Eleventh Circuit Upholds Florida Initiative On Redistricting," January 31, 2012
  98. The Miami Herald,"Rick Scott moves to delay redistrict plan," January 25, 2011
  99. Tampa Bay Online, "Proceed with Fair Districts clearance," January 27, 2011
  100. [Sunshine State News "Fasanto to Scott: Redistricting amendments the 'People's will'" January 27, 2011
  101. Sun Sentinel, "League of Women Voters leader presses to implement redistricting reform," January 25, 2011
  102. Miami Herald, "Redistricting amendment allies sue Fla. Gov. Scott," February 3, 2011
  103. KeysNet, "Keys 5 sue governor over redistricting," February 5, 2011
  104. The Palm Beach Post,"Scott sued over redistricting stance," February 3, 2011
  105. The Palm Beach Post,"Groups sue Fla. Gov. Scott to move forward with federal OK of redistricting amendments," February 3, 2011
  106. [Tampa Bay Online, "No movement from Scott on anti-gerrymandering amendments," March 14, 2011
  107. Orlando Sentinel "Is Scott backing down on Fair Districts," March 19, 2011
  108. Florida Legislature, "Preclearance Application for Amendments 5 and 6," March 29, 2011
  109. St. Petersburg Times, "Florida restarts process to clear voter-approved redistricting standards," March 30, 2011
  110. Florida Independent, "Cannon, Haridopolos seek ‘Fair Districts’ preclearance, append qualifications," March 30, 2011
  111. Tampa Bay Online, "Critics say lawmakers want to continue gerrymandered districts," March 30, 2011
  112. Florida Courier, "Scott relents on Florida's Fair District amendments, but reapportionment battles still loom," March 30, 2011
  113. St. Petersburg Times, "U.S. Justice Department clears Florida redistricting amendments," June 1, 2011
  114. Florida Division of Elections, "Voter registration statistics by congressional districts - 2010 elections," October 4, 2010
  115. Bradenton Herald, "Congressional boost piques local interest," December 25, 2010
  116. St. Petersburg Times, "Redistricting timeline stretches final deadline to June 2012," December 9, 2010
  117. Palm Beach Post, "Gaetz proposes moving redistricting process timeline," August 30, 2011
  118. Southeast AGNET, "Florida Senate Redistricting Plan Coming in December," September 22, 2011
  119. Policy Archive, "Reapportionment Politics: The History of Redistricting in the 50 States," Rose Institute of State and Local Government, January 1981 (pg.71-80)
  120. Fairvote Archives, "Florida's Redistricting News: (September 30-December 3, 2001)", accessed February 8, 2011
  121. Fairvote Archive, "Florida's Redistricting News: (December 29, 2000-September 15, 2001)", accessed February 8, 2001
  122. Fairvote Archive, "Florida's Redistricting News: (December 16, 2001 - March 24, 2002) ", accessed February 8, 2011
  123. Sacramento Bee, "Republicans face obstacles in redistricting," January 18, 2011
  124. Fairvote Archive, "Florida's Redistricting News", accessed February 8, 2011
  125. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Redistricting 2000 Population Deviation Table”, accessed February 1, 2011
  126. Minnesota State Senate "2000 Redistricting Case Summaries"