A Florida judge allowed the use of voting districts favoring Republicans in November while approving revised congressional boundaries for subsequent elections. Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis in Tallahassee ruled earlier that the election map was improperly drawn and ordered the state legislature to revise the districts to address “gerrymandering” in two of them. While voting-rights groups argued that a new map should go into effect in 2014, Lewis said in his ruling yesterday that holding special elections this year for the districts “is not an appropriate remedy under the circumstances.” The new map would instead be in place for 2016 elections.
Florida’s Republican-led legislature in 2012 approved its redistricting plan, which was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott, a Republican. Voting-rights groups sued, claiming the map violated the state constitution.
The the two problem districts cited by the judge were District 5, a jagged sliver running from Jacksonville to Orlando 140 miles (225 kilometers) south, and District 10, near Orlando. District 5 is held by U.S. Representative Corrine Brown, a Democrat, and District 10 by Representative Daniel Webster, a Republican.
The revised map Lewis approved yesterday made changes to seven of the state’s 27 districts. Lewis had required that District 5 and District 10 be changed along with “any other districts affected thereby.”