FAIR DISTRICTS VICTORY GALA
Common Cause Florida leaders joined about 150 guests who participated in a gala celebration of our successful litigation in support of the Fair Districts Amendments that we helped add to the Florida Constitution in 2010.
Common Cause and the League of Women Voters were plaintiffs in multiple challenges to the Florida Legislature’s attempt to flaunt the will of the voters by engaging in partisan gerrymandering. The litigation resulted in a complete win, after the courts determined that the Legislature had violated the Florida Constitution, and accepted our Senate and Congressional maps as alternatives that best met the constitutional standards.
Our coalition also prevailed in a lawsuit by incumbent U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who sought to protect the gerrymandered district she represented. A federal court upheld our map because it produced two opportunity minority districts in north and central Florida, while producing districts that are both more compact and which better retain the integrity of municipal and county boundaries.
Pictured from left: Ben Wilcox was the Executive Director of Common Cause who helped determine the language of the Fair Districts Amendments and gathered signatures for their passage. He continues his involvement in Common Cause Florida as a board member. Peter Butzin is the immediate past Chair of Common Cause Florida, who has been working on redistricting reform since 1978. Ellen Friedin headed up Fair Districts Florida and is responsible for pulling together the coalition, raising funds for both the amendments’ passage and the litigation, and for substantially assisting the victorious litigation strategy. Walt Dartland is a past Chair of Common Cause Florida who helped shepherd Common Cause’s significant effort toward the victory.
On top of our December victory where the Florida Supreme Court approved Congressional Maps submitted by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, the Leon County Circuit Court adopted our plan for State Senate districts. The Legislature has decided not to appeal Judge Reynolds decision, which means another major victory of the People of Florida.