The League of Women Voters of Florida supports single-member election districts that are equal in population, that provide access for minorities, are compact, and when possible, take local characteristics, such as political and geographical boundaries, into consideration. The League supports the depoliticizing of the redistricting process and true representation for minorities.
During 2005, many Leaguers statewide collected signed petitions that would put a redistricting amendment on the ballot in 2006. The Committee for Fair Elections collected more than 900,000 signatures, many more than the required number. However, the proposed amendment was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court: the court ruled that the wording of the proposal did not comply with the requirement that only one subject be addressed in an amendment.
By 2007, the League joined the steering committee of FairDistrictsFlorida.org and collected petitions for the two proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution that would establish standards for drawing congressional and legislative voting districts. They appeared on the 2010 ballot as Amendments 5 and 6.
During the 2008 legislative session, Senator Charlie Justice introduced a constitutional amendment that would have created an independent commission to draw the lines for districts; it was never placed on any agenda and had no companion legislation in the House. Senator Justice tried again during the 2009 session, but results were the same.
Amendments 5 and 6 addressing redistricting were both passed in the November 2010 election by 63% of voters. The 2010 Census has been completed, and Florida will be redistricting in 2012.
Senator Don Gaetz and Representative Will Weatherford are chairing the redistricting committee. After numerous redistricting public hearings around the state during summer 2011 that resulted in no legislatively drawn maps, the Florida Senate and House of Representatives finally proposed legislative and congressional district maps in December 2011.
To see all legislatively drawn district plans submitted by the Legislature, click here.
It is imperative that the conditions set forth in Amendments 5 and 6 are followed to the letter when new district maps are drawn and approved. Incumbency and party affiliation have no place in the process.
In January 2012, the League, along with the National Council of La Raza and Common Cause of Florida, submitted maps for the Legislature's consideration.
To view the League's congressional map, click here.
To view the League's state Senate map, click here.
To view the League's state House of Representatives map, click here.
The Legislature ultimately dismissed the League-drawn maps. On February 3, 2012, the Florida House passed their congressional map, and the Senate approved it on February 9. Immediately thereafter, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and National Council of La Raza announced their intention to file suit against the congressional map if signed by the governor.
To view Supreme Court filings relevant to this case, click here.
On September 5, 2012, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Common Cause and National Council of La Raza filed suit in the Second District Court in Leon County, challenging the constitutionality of the Florida Senate maps as drawn by the Legislature. LWVF President Deirdre Macnab explained, "Florida voters made their intent clear when they voted in 2010 to put new redistricting standards in the state constitution. The Florida League believes that the Senate plan does not comply with those standards."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL COMPLAINT.
SEND a letter-to-the-editor for publication to your local news outlet expressing your support of fair districts and encouraging the Legislature to appropriately implement Amendments 5 and 6.
DONATE to the League of Women Voters of Florida Advocacy Fund to help us ensure that Florida has fair districts in 2012.
For an educational overview of public participation in the 2012 Florida redistricting process, review Dr. Susan MacManus's article "Redistricting 2012: 5 Lessons Learned."
Check out the article "Making Sense Out of Redistricting and Its Implications for Northeast Florida" by Steven Baker, Ph.D., a professor of political science at Jacksonville University, for more information about how redistricting affects local areas.
Also read Dr. Frank Alcock's article in the Tampa Bay Times on March 6, 2012 "Court ruling will affect maps, future redistricting" for information on the legal implementation of Amendments 5 and 6 in the context of legislatively drawn and approved district maps.