Last November Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendments 5 & 6, better wise known as the Florida Fair Districts amendments. They call for lawmakers to draw up legislative and congressional districts in a contiguous, compact fashion that doesn't show favoritism for incumbents, parties or minorities.
After it was voted into law by the electorate, then Governor Charlie Crist - complying with his constitutional duty to follow the law and submit the amendments for a mandatory review by the Justice Department as is required in Florida in what is known as pre-clearance.
But just days after inheriting the office from Crist, Scott withdrew Florida's submission. One of the stories he told as to why he was withdrawn the submission was that he wanted to wait until the census date came through. Well it has, and now a coalition of groups who supported amendments 5 & 6 are calling Scott's bluff. Read the letter submitted by Deirdre Macnab from the League of Women Voters, Adora Obi Nweze from the NAACP, and Jorge Mursuli from the Latino group Democracia.
Dear Governor Scott:
The Code of Federal Regulations requires that changes affecting voting should be submitted [for Justice Department clearance] as soon as possible after they become final. 28 C.F.R. § 51.21. On December 10, 2010, former Governor Crist complied with his constitutional duty to follow the law and submitted the FairDistricts Amendments, newly enacted Sections 20 and 21 of Article III, of the Florida Constitution, for mandatory review by the United States Justice Department. On January 6, 2011, you withdrew Floridas submission.
When your withdrawal was discovered, you indicated that you needed more information and mentioned the census data. While it is clear that the census data is irrelevant to submission for pre-clearance, it is our understanding that the data is being delivered to you today. So now that you have this additional information, we respectfully ask that you immediately re-submit the request for pre-clearance to the Department of Justice.
Resubmission of these reforms will avoid the need for further costly litigation. More importantly it will fulfill the wishes of the 63% of Floridians that supported these reforms