Court Rejects Reps. Diaz-Balmart & Brown's Attempt to Scuttle Redistricting Reform ballot Initiative In Florida: Statement of Executive Director J. Gerald Hebert
Today’s decision of the Florida Supreme Court rejecting last minute ballot challenges to Florida’s redistricting reform initiatives (Amendments 5 and 6) clears the way for Florida voters to decide for themselves this November whether they want to stop politicians from gerrymandering themselves into safe seats. The suit filed by Representatives Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) tried to stop voters from having their say on the amendments, which would bring about needed reform of the redistricting process.
Under Amendments 5 and 6, politicians would not be allowed to favor one political party or incumbent when drawing district lines. The decision is a real blow to those who hold public office and use the redistricting process to keep their seats safe from potential challengers. And the decision is a real boost to the integrity of the citizen initiative process. For African American and Latino voters in the State of Florida, the initiative will expand the protections of minority voting rights and should bring about a fair process and less gerrymandered map in the post-2010 election cycle.
The Court also rejected a final attempt by the state legislature to reinstate it own “poison pill” Amendment 7 which a lower court ruled was nothing more than an attempt by incumbent officeholders to confuse voters and undermine the redistricting reform amendments on the ballot. Today’s rulings were a victory for citizens over politicians seeking to retain what they see as their right to handpick constituents more likely to reelect them. Amendments 5 and 6 now present Floridians the opportunity to send a clear message to Tallahassee and to Washington that voters should be choosing politicians, not the other way around.
To read the decision, click here.