A case of dubious document destruction in Florida redistricting challenge

12/20/2013
Suspicious. Very suspicious. The latest twist in Florida's questionable integrity in the elections process came this week with revelations that the Legislature destroyed documents connected to implementation of two 2010 amendments to the state Constitution.

Those "FairDistricts" amendments are designed to prevent the gerrymandering of legislative and congressional boundaries typically utilized by the political party in power to protect incumbents or gain other partisan election advantages. read more »

Tallahassee's bonfire of the alibis

12/19/2013
You'll probably find this hard to believe, but there are some cynics afoot who are of the opinion that a lobbyist charm bracelet of Tallahassee Republicans might have cooked the books when redrawing the state's political maps in 2012.

Just where this sort of snarky distrust comes from is anybody's guess. read more »

Oops! Lawmakers destroyed redistricting records

12/18/2013
TALLAHASSEE — In new court filings, House and Senate Republican leaders are conceding they deleted records related to the 2012 re-drawing of congressional and legislative maps.

The voting-rights groups — including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and individual voters — challenging Florida's re-drawn congressional maps notified a Leon County court Wednesday that they intended to place House and Senate officials under oath to find out what documents were destroyed and why.

"The admission that redistricting records were destroyed should have Florida voters up in arms," League President Deirdre Macnab said in a statement.

House Speaker Will Weatherford in a statement said that legislators had not intentionally destroyed any records. Instead the House discarded records according to existing rules. He also said that the Legislature has already handed over thousands of

read more »

Florida Supreme Court rules lawmakers must testify in redistricting case

12/13/2013
TALLAHASSEE — The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that legislators and their staffs must testify in a case that accuses Republicans of redrawing political boundaries for partisan advantage in violation of the state Constitution.


The 5-2 decision means that the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and others can force Republican senators and key staff members to testify under oath about their motives in drawing districts. The plaintiffs claim emails show that the GOP plotted with party officials and political consultants for partisan advantage in the 2012 remapping of Senate and congressional districts. In a blistering dissent, Justice Charles Canady, joined by Chief Justice Ricky Polston, called the majority's conclusions "unprecedented" and said the ruling "grievously violates the constitutional separation of powers." read more »

High court rules Florida lawmakers must testify on redistricting

12/13/2013
TALLAHASSEE — Lawmakers enjoy protection from being forced to testify in most civil cases, the Florida Supreme Court ruled late Friday, but that protection does not extend to a challenge to the state's congressional districts working its way through the courts.

The landmark, 5-2 ruling was the first time the justices have recognized a "legislative privilege" in Florida. But it came as something of a pyrrhic victory for lawmakers who were hoping to avoid testifying about the 2012 redistricting process. read more »

Florida Supreme Court rejects Republican leaders' bid for shield in redistricting cases

12/13/2013
The Florida Supreme Court ruled Friday that state lawmakers can be forced to testify in redistricting cases claiming that backroom huddling with consultants and a flurry of email exchanges were part of an illegal effort to keep Republicans in command of Florida.

The 5-2 ruling by justices sided with the League of Women Voters of Florida, which disputed the stand by lawmakers that "legislative privilege" shields them from testifying in lawsuits challenging the state's new congressional and state Senate maps. read more »

Fla. Supreme Court: Lawmakers Not Exempt From Testifying About Redistricting

12/13/2013
The Florida Supreme Court has ruled lawmakers should not be exempt from testifying about the redistricting process in a lawsuit challenging the state's Congressional maps. The court says the public's interest in fair districts outweighs legislative privilege in this case. read more »

Supreme Court: Lawmakers must testify on redistricting maps

12/13/2013
TALLAHASSEE — The Supreme Court ruled Friday that lawmakers can be forced to testify as part of a lawsuit challenging whether they violated the constitution when they drew new congressional districts.

The decision is a victory for the League of Women Voters and others who are suing over the new political boundaries approved in 2012. They argue that the Republican controlled Legislature didn't follow a constitutional amendment that says it can't draw districts intended to protect incumbents or members of a certain political party. read more »