Florida To Draw New Voting Map After Old Districts Ruled Illegal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge on Friday ordered legislators to hold a special session to draw up anew congressional map for the state after the old one was ruled to be illegal.

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the Florida Legislature must draw up new congressional districts by Aug. 15. Lewis said he will then consider whether to order a special election later this year under this new map.

Lewis in July ruled that the current districts are illegal because they were drawn to benefit the Republican Party. Voters in 2010 passed the “Fair Districts” amendment that says legislators cannot draw up districts to favor incumbents or a political party. His July ruling sparked a legal battle over what to do since Florida’sprimary election is scheduled for Aug. 26.

The groups who challenged the current districts wanted Lewis to adopt a new map and adjust this year’s election schedule. But legislative leaders said the state’s current districts should be kept in place to avoid disrupting the 2014 elections.

In his ruling, Lewis said he found the arguments from legislative lawyers “more sensible” and he agreed that the Legislature should be responsible for redrawing Florida’s congressional districts.

But he said he could not at this time push off a new map until 2016. Lewis said to do so would be telling voters “they have been deprived of the equal right of having a say in who represents their interests in Congress for two years.”

There was no immediate reaction on the ruling from the Legislature. A spokesman for House Speaker Will Weatherford said the House was reviewing the decision.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: