For decades, politicians in Florida selfishly designed legislative and Congressional districts to keep power for themselves and their political parties. So effective and brazen was this practice that for years only a small fraction of legislative incumbents were ever defeated or even challenged.
At election time, voters had little chance to freely select their representatives because the representatives had rigged their districts to ensure that they were unbeatable. This in turn led to a legislature and a Congressional delegation populated with elected officials who had no motivation to carry out the will of the people and no motivation to work across the aisle to find common solutions to issues important to the public good because they had secured re-election when they drew the district lines.
On November 2, 2010, Floridians overwhelmingly spoke out against this self-serving practice by passing Amendments 5 and 6 – the FairDistricts Amendments — with 63% of the vote. This vote resulted in constitutional provisions which, while protecting minority representation, prohibit favoritism of incumbents or parties in drawing districts.
However, even with the rules now enshrined in the state constitution, in 2012, the Congressional and Senate maps drawn by the Tallahassee politicians continued to be riddled with improper favoritism and they did not comply with the constitution. Simply put, the politicians refused to follow the will of the people. They cheated the system because they did not want to give up their shameful job protection plan.
FairDistricts Now, Inc., a 501(c)(3) lead the court battles that resulted in the invalidation of the Legislature’s 2012 maps. As the 2022 redistricting approaches, FairDistricts Now will continue to provide support to Floridians who want to actively participate in the effort to be sure that Florida’s 2022 districts are drawn in compliance with the FairDistricts Amendments – to benefit the people and not the politicians. We will partner with interested individuals and organizations to educate the public about the importance of fair redistricting and Florida’s unique constitutional rules for drawing districts. We will demand transparency in redistricting. We will monitor every step of the 2022 process. And we will bring any failure to comply with the letter and the spirit of the FairDistricts Amendments to the attention of the public and, if necessary, the Courts.