I believe We The People should pick our politicians, politicians shouldn’t pick their voters.

Floridians are ready for Fair Maps and new rules that make the process of drawing districts impartial, so that our government is truly of, by, and for the people.

Fair maps mean counting everyone equally, playing by the rules, and having a transparent process. Gerrymandering denies voters our right to fair representation and a meaningful choice at the polls – we must end it.

The Fair Districts Amendments

In November 2010, Floridians overwhelmingly spoke out against gerrymandering by passing the Fair Districts Amendments to the Florida Constitution with 63% of the vote:

  • Article III, Section 21 of the Florida Constitution provides standards for establishing legislative district boundaries for state-level representation in Florida’s Senate and House of Representatives  
  • Article III, Section 20 provides standards for establishing congressional district boundaries for Florida’s federal representation in the U.S. House of Representatives 

The Fair Districts Amendments were intended to prevent the longstanding practice by ruling parties in the Legislature  — Democrats, then Republicans — of drawing lines favoring their party of incumbents. 

Both amendments require the legislature to comply with the following standards in the redistricting process.

Tier 1 Standards:

  • No district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent 
  • Districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice
  • Districts shall consist of contiguous territory.

Tier 2 Standards, which must be met unless they conflict with federal law or with the Tier 1 standards:

  • Districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable
  • Districts shall be compact
  • Districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.

The Ongoing Fight for Fair Districts

When it came time to draw new maps in advance of the 2012 elections, the Florida Legislature did not follow the Fair District standards. We all saw the consequences of this: Republicans won almost ⅔ of Florida’s congressional seats in 2012, even though only a little over half of Floridians voted for them.

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters challenged the Congressional and State Senate maps in court, and the Florida Supreme Court told the Legislature to fix their maps. They gerrymandered again, and they were told to fix it again. Finally, in December 2015, the Florida Supreme Court approved the congressional map submitted by Common Cause Florida and the League of Women Voters Florida. And in January 2016, the Second Circuit Court in Leon County adopted our plan for State Senate districts. This was a major victory for the People of Florida, but the damage was done — communities across Florida had been deprived of the chance to make their voices heard in the intervening elections.

When it came time to redraw the maps again in 2022, the Florida Legislature started out following the Fair District standards, but then enacted a racially discriminatory congressional map created by Governor DeSantis that stripped Black voters of fair representation. Common Cause Florida, Fair Districts Now, the NAACP Florida State Conference and individual voters from across Florida are suing in federal court to stop this map and protect the rights of Florida voters. Read about the case and all litigation updates here.

See how Florida was graded this past redistricting cycle in a new report by Common Cause and coalition partners.

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