“Court decision is a big step forward in fight for voter-based redistricting,” says League

Washington, D.C.  – Late yesterday, a Florida Circuit Court issued an opinion in Romo v. Detzner, a case that examined whether Florida's congressional districts violate that state’s constitution.  The final judgment of the court was that the congressional map drawn by the Florida legislature and adopted in 2012 violates the Fair District Amendments to Florida’s constitution which were adopted by citizen initiative in 2010 to remove partisan influence from the redistricting process. The League of Women Voters of Florida was the lead organizational plaintiff in the lawsuit, and was the driving force behind passage of the Fair Districts Amendments.

“This decision gives us a new tool to fight partisan gerrymandering,” said national League President, Elisabeth MacNamara. “The criteria adopted by the citizens of Florida and enforced by the court are effective in fighting partisan gerrymandering. This case provides a roadmap for other states to limit partisan gerrymandering and force an open and transparent process for drawing congressional lines.”

“Today, we see that voters can win,” MacNamara said. “We can have redistricting processes that allow the voters to choose their representatives rather than the politicians choosing the voters. We now have a track record in Florida and California, of successful, citizen-led initiatives by the League of Women Voters that have used both redistricting criteria and an independent commission to fight partisan gerrymandering.”

During the case, the Florida courts required legislators to disclose secret emails used in the redistricting process that helped this court decide that the Florida congressional redistricting was intentionally designed to benefit one political party over the other. “This decision once again shows the importance of transparency. It was essential for the legislators to come clean and reveal what was really going on in the redistricting process. Citizens have a right to have government act in the open rather than in secret,” MacNamara said.

Contact: Kelly Ceballos, 202-263-1331, kceballos@lwv.org

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.