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UPDATE: Dems outraged over Scott secret withdrawal of redistricting amendments

by Dara Kam | January 25th, 2011

UPDATE: A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott responded to his withdrawal of redistricting amendments for federal approval.

“Consistent with Governor Scott’s effort to assess the rules, regulations and contracts of the previous administration, he has withdrawn the letter requesting a DOJ review of Amendments 5 and 6. Census data has not been transmitted to the state yet and the Legislature will not undertake redistricting for months, so this withdrawal in no way impedes the process of redrawing Florida’s legislative and congressional districts,” Scott spokesman Brian Hughes said in an e-mail.

In his first few days on the job, Gov.Rick Scott quietly withdrew the state’s request for a federal go-ahead to move forward with two redistricting amendments overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

Scott sent the request to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has to sign off on any changes to Florida elections laws affecting voters’ rights, on Jan. 7, just two days after he announced the reappointment of Department of State Secretary Kurt Browning. After Browning left Gov. Charlie Crist’s administration last year, he headed up a political committee that fought Amendments 5 and 6, aka the “Fair Districts” amendments. Crist’s temporary secretary of the state department submitted the application for “preclearance” to DOJ officials on Dec. 10

Scott’s move, offered with no explanation to the feds and no public announcement, left Democrats and supporters of the amendments hopping mad, and the state’s top Democrat is demanding Scott resubmit the preclearance application.

“The Governor and Secretary of State have no right to abuse their positions to prevent
implementation of these needed reforms,” FairDistricts Now Board member Leon Russell, also a board member of the NAACP, said in a statement.

“We will do whatever it takes to see to it that the new standards are implemented. We will not
allow our hard earned rights and the clear vote and voice of over 3 million Florida voters to be
eviscerated by those intent on avoiding their constitutional duty to create fairly drawn districts,”
Pamela Goodman, President of FairDistricts Now and Redistricting Chair of the Florida
League of Women’s Voters, said in the same press release.

“By secretly withdrawing Florida’s application for preclearance for the Fair District amendments, the Governor and the Secretary of State are clearly trying to delay and obstruct the will of Floridians who overwhelmingly voted for the constitutional amendments last fall,” Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said in his statement. “On behalf of all Floridians – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike – I call upon the Governor and Secretary of State to immediately resubmit the application for preclearance.”

And Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich threw this barb at Scott:

“The governor needs to remember that only 48 percent of Floridians voted for his candidacy. The Fair Districts Amendments 5 and 6 passed with 63 percent of the votes cast. If the governor is looking for a mandate, it is undoubtedly the voters’ overwhelming desire to end the ability of lawmakers to draw their district boundaries to their own benefit or that of their party. Clearly, 63 percent of Floridians have had enough of those shenanigans.
“For the governor to shun the will of the majority is unconscionable. For him now to hide behind his ill-advised executive order is absurd. The decision to freeze regulations and contracts has already unleashed a nightmare for those businesses and Floridians eager to ‘get to work.’ Apparently, shutting down jobs was not enough; now he’s shutting down the voice of the people.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Dean Cannon has asked a judge to join a lawsuit against Amendment 6 that deals with Congressional districts. Lawmakers last year tried to put their own redistricting amendment on the ballot to compete with 5 and 6, but the Florida Supreme Court threw it out, ruling it was misleading to voters.

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14 Responses to “UPDATE: Dems outraged over Scott secret withdrawal of redistricting amendments”

  1. again Says:

    the rape of Florida is underway… way to go t-baggers

  2. Oh...my... Says:

    These were not ‘rules’ implemented by the previous administration. These were approved by a majority of voters in this state. How DARE he.

    On the other hand, he was elected by a majority of voters in this state; can I withdraw him?

  3. Kevin Says:

    Hey now, he bought and paid for this election so if he wants to gerrymander he going to do it. He’s not going to let a little thing like the will of the voters to stand in his way.

  4. maria Says:

    why should they submit clearly discrimatory amendments to DOJ – they will harm black and hispanic candidates. Only the courts can decide fairly

  5. Johnny Says:

    Unconscionable.
    Republicans in this state do not want the people to have the power to make sound decisions for themselves.
    They want the rich and powerful to hold all the cards so they can screw the everyman.

  6. Arbar Says:

    It seems our illustrious Governor is going to sit on them so they’ll never be implemented.

    If his hand is forced, he’ll obstruct, argue, file frivolous lawsuits, blame, whine, cry, and throw tantrums so he doesn’t have to.

    He’s hoping by the time it clears the courts it’ll be too late.

    The original Tea Party members are spinning in their graves.

  7. YES! Says:

    YAHOO, Rick!

    The amendment included LANGUAGE spoken to be included in redistricting. Isn’t ENGLISH the language of our state, our country?

    Geographical boundaries do need to be redrawn. They are so haphazard and ridiculous.

    But those boundaries should not be kept for the black candidates, nor latino candidates or any other religous clusters or white candidates.

    Use natural or manmade geographical areas. Keep city votes intact.

    Re-do school district boundaries in PBC. They are RIDICULOUSLY DRAWN to allow the same old candidates to run over and over again. Ditto county commission seats.

  8. Huh?! Says:

    This is tooooooooo funny. You hear people say they wish government was run more like a company. Well, you’re getting your wish now. In a company you poor little lost souls have NO say on what happens unless you’re on the board of directors. Only the board decides what’s right for the company, only the board has any influence on how things are handled and, oh yeah, only the board votes. They may let you poor stockholders cast a ballot but your vote ways nothing compared to theirs. Good luck!

  9. comb over Says:

    What can you expect from a crook? But I blame democrats for not getting out the vote in November. Dems. sat on their butts. Sink could easily have beaten this crook if DEMS had gotten out the vote. I love the bumper sticker on the car I saw yesterday: Don’t blame me, I voted for Sink.

  10. pete Says:

    The irony in all this is great. Don’t take this as racially insensitive but it was the blacks who conspired with the republicans in the first place to guarantee black representatives were elected.
    If it wasn’t for that long standing practice between those two groups the black community would have been far less represented.

    Even so Scott should resubmit and they can puruse legal action if they don’t like it.

  11. Hook, Line, and Sinker Says:

    The “will of the people” apparently only matters depending upon what side of the issue you are on. Let’s see the will of the poeple is against Obamacare but it was jammed down our throats! The will of the people is to address illegal immigration and border security. No that has not been accomplished.

    Ammendments 5 and 6 will end up in the courts no matter how the Republicans redistrict so who cares if the plans get submitted now or a year from now. Will be in the courts for the next 4-6 years anyway.

    The Republicans are in control now so suck it up. They’ll screw up and the Democrats will have their way again. Blame both parties.

  12. Al Vazquez Says:

    Our new criminal governor Scott has “pulled” the new Fair Districting Amendments to our Constitution – probably the fairest, most non-partisan, enlightened amendments ever created and approved by the citizens of my home state. You’ll see this horrible man impeached before his term is up.

  13. Cry Babies Says:

    Hey Al Vazquez I wonder what will come first his impeachment or your deportation?

    Bunch of Cry Baby Dems! Never worried about fairness when you’re in control! I’ll tell you what’s not fair. Me paying for your kids to go to school. Let alone the free lunch they get!

    Don’t reply, just press 1 for english.

  14. Democrat Sore Losers Says:

    Ok… let me get this straight. When Democrats win, they bribe Senators and congresspeople to pass healthcare and immigration legistlation that the Majority of Americans oppose and that is OK because Obama and his liberal cohorts know what is best for us. Well, guess what. That plan backfired and the Repubs are running the show. Gov. Scott is using all the tools at his disposal to stack the deck for his party–TOO DAMN BAD!!! Dems have done far, far worse and would do the exact same thing if they had the opportunity. It’s time to bring some sanity back into government and if Gov. Scott has to navagate a few hurdles to make it happen, then good for him!!!!!!

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