Share This Page

Florida approves new voting maps from GOP gerrymandering

| Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 8:45 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature on Monday swiftly passed new maps that will alter several of the state's congressional districts because a judge ruled the current districts were illegally drawn to benefit the GOP.

The changes would alter seven of the state's 27 congressional districts, but it's not certain whether the revised map will change the makeup of Florida's congressional delegation. Republicans hold a 17-10 edge.

The vote was largely along partisan lines as Democrats complained that the new map still doesn't reflect that Florida is a battleground state with a divided electorate. The Senate passed the measure, 25-12, with the House following by a 71-38 vote.

“What we've done is really just window dressing,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.

Legislators held a three-day special session to fix the congressional map after Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled that two districts were drawn illegally. Lewis gave legislators until Aug. 15 to draw a new map.

Republicans who led the effort to draw the new map contended that the changes should pass muster with the judge.

“It's an excellent map that should comply with the judge's order,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes and chairman of the committee that came up with the revised districts.

Even with new districts in place, it's not clear when they will be implemented. Lewis must decide whether to call a special election for later this year. Legislative leaders have said they plan to oppose any effort to call one.

Voters in 2010 passed the “Fair Districts” amendment that says legislators cannot draw up districts to favor incumbents or a political party, a practice known as gerrymandering. A coalition of groups, including the League of Women Voters, contended that the GOP consultants used a “shadow” process to draw districts that benefited Republicans.

Lewis said there was enough evidence to show that consultants helped make a “mockery” of the process.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.