Groups file suit against governor over halt to redistricting changesby Dara Kam | February 3rd, 2011
Supporters of two voter-approved constitutional amendments changing the way Florida lawmakers draw Congressional and legislative districts filed a lawsuit today demanding that Gov. Rick Scott move forward with the federal approval needed to implement the changes.
Shortly after taking office, Scott put the brakes on predecessor Charlie Crist’s request to the U.S. Department of Justice for the “pre-clearance” required whenever Florida makes changes to its elections laws affecting voters’ rights.
Scott reappointed Kurt Browning as Florida’s secretary of state. Browning, originally appointed by Crist, left his post last year to lead the fight against the “Fair Districts” amendments approved by voters in November that now bar lawmakers from drawing districts that favor political parties or incumbents.
The NAACP, Florida League of Women Foters, Democracia Ahora, and individual voters in Monroe County filed the lawsuitthe lawsuit against Scott and Browning in the U.S. District Court Southern District today asking a three-judge panel to force Scott to resubmit the request.
“It’s time to stop stonewalling. Governor Scott and Secretary Browning should not be abusing their
power to frustrate the will of the 63% who voted for these reforms. The new standards must be
sent to the Justice Department promptly to guarantee their implementation,” said former state Sen. Dan Gelber, counsel for FairDistricts Now, the organization that collected the signatures to put the amendments on the ballot in November.
One of the amendments is currently being challenged in court by U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Corinne Brown, who say they will hurt minorities.