Florida Judge Throws Out Republican Voting Maps

A Florida judge took the GOP and their redrawn congregational district maps from 2012 to the proverbial woodshed on Thursday, when he ruled that the maps were drawn up illegally.

Second Judicial Circuit judge Terry P. Lewis called the maps a mockery to the rules of transparency when he ruled that Florida GOPers schemed to manipulate the congressional district boundaries to better favor them by protecting their majority.

Judge Lewis laid out his thoughts in a strongly-worded 41-page ruling that, among other things, called for Florida's 27 districts to be redrawn because they violate the "Fair Districts Florida" standards which was voted on by Floridians in 2010.

The vote helped pass two amendments that would make the Legislature draw up congressional districts to make things more even for both Democrats and Republicans. The boundaries would basically make it an even playing ground during elections.

But, in 2012, the maps were redrawn just before the midterm elections, and then approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

On Thursday, Lewis brought a wrecking ball onto that whole plan.

"What is clear to me from the evidence ... is that this group of Republican political consultants or operatives did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process," Lewis wrote in his ruling.

But wait. There's more.

Lewis went on to say that GOPers "infiltrated" and "influenced" the Florida Legislature to alter the district boundaries to favor the party. He even quoted George Washington's warning of "cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men."

"Republican political consultants or operatives did, in fact, conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process," he wrote.

In all probability, the ruling will be appealed and this thing might go all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

For now, Lewis has ruled that the Fifth and 10th Districts be redrawn, thus creating a sort of domino effect for the other districts to better reflect what the 2010 vote was all about.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph