Supervisors OK’d to Use New Maps as Feds Uphold Congressional Lines

May 1, 2012

The following article was published in The Sunshine State News on May 1, 2012:

Supervisors OK’d to Use New Maps as Feds Uphold Congressional Lines

By Jim Turner

A Leon County judge rejected a move to block the Legislature’s new congressional lines on Monday as the U.S. Department of Justice cleared the new map under the federal Voting Rights Act.

As the rulings came out Monday, following up on the state Supreme Court giving the stamp of approval to the new Senate boundary lines under the once-a-decade redistricting, state leaders told county election supervisors to begin using the new maps.

“This concludes the mandatory legal reviews of new districts and allows them to be implemented,” Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, wrote to the state’s 67 supervisors of elections on Monday.

Supervisors have been holding off on updating voter information cards with the new district numbers because the new maps were still being reviewed.

On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote that the “attorney general does not interpose any objection to the specified changes” in the state Legislature’s once-a-decade redistricting effort.

Several hours later, Leon County Judge Terry Lewis rejected a call from the Democratic Party of Florida and a coalition of voting rights groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, for an injunction to prevent the new congressional map from being used while the lines continue to be challenged for failing to follow the vote-approved, anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments.

“Without a finding that the map as drawn is unconstitutional, I do not have the authority to replace it with another map while the case is pending,” Lewis wrote.

Representatives for the Florida Democratic Party were not immediately available for comment.

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