The coalition of groups trying to prove Florida’s congressional map was intentionally gerrymandered to help Republicans turned to experts Tuesday who testified it was “virtually impossible” to have drawn the maps without political bias. The trial over Florida’s congressional maps drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature and challenged by the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs began its second week Tuesday with GOP operative Frank Terraferma testifying again about maps he had drawn and passed along to another GOP consultant, Rich Heffley. Similar versions of the maps were later publicly submitted to the Legislature by an engineering student at Florida State University. Terraferma has said repeatedly last Friday and Tuesday he didn’t know how the maps he drew ended up being submitted by the student.
Prior Republican operatives have testified about how they disseminated draft maps and were unhappy not to have a “seat at the table” during redistricting thanks to 2010 constitutional reforms that outlawed intentional gerrymandering.
But both sides have argued proving the maps were intentionally drawn to favor the GOP is a high threshold. And the trial on Tuesday also moved into an expert-witness phase.
Jonathan Katz, a social science and statistics professor at the California Institute of Technology, testified in the lawsuit Tuesday that Florida’s congressional map was heavily biased toward electing Republicans despite the state’s Democratic-edge in voters.