THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Redistricting Proposal Becomes Amendment 7

May 19, 2010

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA published the following on May 19, 2010:

The Secretary of State on Wednesday designated a legislatively-proposed constitutional amendment on redistricting as Amendment 7.

The proposal asks voters to put certain requirements for redrawing districts in the constitution, regardless of what is required by two other amendments, 5 and 6, which were put on the ballot through the signature process by FairDistricstFlorida.

Amendments 5 and 6 seek to prohibit lawmakers from drawing congressional or state legislative districts to favor or disfavor any party or candidate.

Republican lawmakers chafed at the idea, calling the FairDistrictFlorida amendments unworkable and potentially devastating for black and Hispanic candidates who now benefit from minority access districts and districts that seem to unnaturally link other communities of interest.

Over the objections of a host of groups including the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause,, lawmakers passed the joint resolution for a competing amendment on a largely party line vote.

Backers say the measure will help “clarify” Amendments 5 and 6 by allowing district drawers to take into account communities of interest in determining how to draw political boundaries, a task that must be undertaken after every new Census.