Will 'fair districts' in Florida lead to a fairer outcome? – Florida Politics (blog)
Six years ago, Florida voters approved constitutional amendments with the catchy title of “Fair Districts” that promised to end the political games that surrounded drawing legislative and congressional districts.
Due to expensive court battles and standoffs in the Florida Legislature, this year’s election will mark the first time the full effort to end gerrymandering will be in place.
As Election Day nears, however, it’s becoming apparent that the changes have not caused any major disruptions politically. Republicans are expected to retain control of the state Legislature. The gap between Democrats and Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation will probably shrink, but the GOP will likely remain in the majority.
“We never expected this to be a revolutionary change, it was an evolutionary change,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the Florida State League of Women Voters, whose organization challenged in court how legislators enacted the standards.
There have been some shake-ups as a result of the amendments finally kicking in: Two incumbent members of Congress, both Democrats, will be leaving office this year due in part to their reshaped districts. And several Republican members are also in tight battles that could result in their defeat Tuesday.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once a Republican but is now running as a Democrat, may revive his political career if he wins a redrawn Democratic-leaning seat in Pinellas County.
Florida has long been divided politically, and has emerged again as a key battleground in the presidential race between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
President George W. Bush, a Republican, carried the state in 2004, but President Barack Obama, a Democrat, won the next two elections. Critics have long complained that the districts don’t reflect the close divide of the electorate.
Florida voters in 2010 overwhelmingly approved the “Fair Districts” amendments which