Florida should delay the primary or adjust its election dates this year in order to fix its unconstitutional congressional map and avoid an invalid election, lawyers for a coalition of voters argued Thursday in circuit court.
But lawyers for the Legislature told Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis that fixing the map before the November elections would "cause horrific uncertainty" for voters and would be an extreme, unnecessary remedy.
Lewis' ruled on July 10 that the state’s congressional redistricting maps are invalid and declared two of the states's 27 districts unconstitutional – those held by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden.
But the Legislature surprised him last week and decided not to appeal the ruling. House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz then urged Lewis to let them revise the map after the November elections, in order to avoid disrupting the fall elections and to comply with federal voting rules that impose a fixed schedule for sending ballots to overseas military.
The coalition of voters groups, led by the League of Women Voters, filed the lawsuit challenging the state's congressional map as violating the Fair Districts rules approved by voters in 2010.
After a 13-day trial, Lewis concluded that the Republican-controlled Legislature allowed “improper partisan intent” to infiltrate the redistricting process and seemingly ignored evidence that partisan political operatives were “making a mockery” out of their attempts to conduct themselves with transparency.