Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

U.S. House District Was Politically Drawn

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

U.S. House District Was Politically Drawn

Article excerpt

Byline: Julie Delegal

The League of Women voters won their court challenge to Florida's congressional map last week.

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis agreed with the League that Florida's latest congressional map was drawn to favor one political party (Republicans) over the other (Democrats.)

Lewis invalidated the map as unconstitutional, and called for it to be redrawn.

State lawmakers are still deciding whether to appeal the decision. If they do, the electoral map likely would not be redrawn until the appeal has been decided.

TWO DISTRICTS AT ISSUE

Among those opposing the decision is Democratic U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, whose long, snakelike District 5 was one of the two districts specifically invalidated by Lewis.

Brown views her district - as currently drawn - as necessary in order to have effective minority representation, which is called for by both the Florida Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

The other district invalidated by Lewis touches Brown's: Congressional District 10, represented by Republican Congressman Daniel Webster.

Districts 5 and 10 touch nine other congressional districts. Changing the boundaries of Congressional Districts 5 and 10 will require changing the boundaries of other districts.

Therein lie the crux - and the art - of electoral map-drawing. Every time a line is drawn to include a specific enclave or neighborhood in one district, that same line will draw those same communities out of neighboring districts.

POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS

Republicans drew divisions on the map that would enable them to create numerous "safe" GOP districts: Essentially, their lines carved Democrats out of the "safe" districts, "packing" them into minority access districts that already had enough voters to elect minority representation. …

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