A Florida circuit court yesterday ruled that the state’s congressional lines violated state constitutional requirements that redistricting be done in a nonpartisan manner. Common Cause was a plaintiff to the lawsuit along with League of Women Voters of Florida and several Florida voters.
Peter Butzin, chair of Common Cause Florida, spearheaded the organization’s efforts in the state. Fair Districts Now led the original campaign to pass the state constitutional amendments and the court fight to hold the Florida Legislature accountable. Click here for their website. The decision will result in the redrawing of the state’s congressional lines. Click here to see the Court's opinion.
“We are thrilled the Court issued a sweeping victory for democracy in Florida by rejecting the biased and partisan congressional maps the legislature drew,” said Kathay Feng, Common Cause national redistricting director. “This trial pulled back the curtain on a secretive process that is all too common when it comes to drawing legislative lines.
Transparency is essential to any redistricting process to ensure that citizens have a voice in how they are represented, but when legislators draw lines, they instinctively manipulate the lines to protect themselves and their party.
When Florida voters passed major redistricting reform, they rejected manipulation by politicians of district lines. This verdict demonstrates that standards like the Fair Districts amendments and other efforts to make redistricting a more open and fair process are essential to stopping politicians from drawing lines for their own self-interest.”
"Today's decision sends a strong signal that doing an end run around the state constitution to empower politicians at the expense of fair representation for Floridians will not be tolerated," said Butzin of the ruling.
Common Cause and 16 national and state organizations recently unveiled Redistricting Principles for a More Perfect Union, a set of 10 principles that should guide every process for drawing legislative lines. For more information, contact Dan Vicuna at (202) 736-5750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issues: Voting and Elections