Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis told Florida legislators today that they have until Aug. 15 to submit a new redistricting map showing fairly drawn congressional districts. The state's previous redistricting map was thrown out after Lewis declared on July 10
that Republicans conspired "to manipulate and influence the redistricting process" and that two U.S. House districts in particular – District 5, represented by Democrat U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and District 10, represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster – don't pass muster and need to be redrawn in time for the 2014 election.
Citizens groups calling for fair districts, including the League of Women Voters, challenged the map that was approved in 2012, saying that it violated the Fair Districts Amendment to the Florida Constitution that was passed by voters in 2010. The maps adopted in 2012, voting rights advocates say, do not comply with the Fair Districts standards and are drawn to favor incumbents. Check out the map in question below, then take a look at the closeup shot of those two questionable districts:
Lewis is giving legislators until Aug. 15 to submit newly drawn maps to him so they'll be ready for the November 2014 election. If they don't comply? According to the Washington Post
, Lewis has a few options – he could redraw the maps himself, he could order the elections to go forward with the current (invalid) maps anyway or he could order the 2014 elections to carry on in all but the two gerrymandered districts, until a new map is approved. Legislative special session, here we come!