While much of the state’s political establishment has focused on the congressional redistricting lawsuit and its possible effects on future elections, a related fight over the map for the state Senate is continuing. That case could eventually lead to new districts for the 40-member upper chamber, which, like the state House, is currently dominated by Republicans. Any final ruling against that plan would require a third draft of the Senate districts after the Florida Supreme Court tossed the original lawmaker-approved plan two years ago. For now, both sides are still working to discover evidence for an eventual courtroom clash on the Senate map. Meanwhile, a coalition of voting-rights organizations that includes the League of Women Voters of Florida is continuing the legal fight over the state’s congressional map, which was redrawn after Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled it unconstitutional in July.
Lewis has since accepted a second draft of the congressional map and rejected the coalition’s efforts to push back the 2014 elections and put the new plan in place immediately. The plaintiffs have appealed that ruling, saying voters should not be forced to cast ballots in unconstitutional districts. “We will be moving ahead with the Senate case in due course,” Lisa Hall, a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs, said in an email. “Work is ongoing and there is no set timetable at this time.”
The eventual Senate case also would be centered on the core of the congressional lawsuit — whether the Legislature complied with the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments, put into the Florida Constitution by voters in 2010.