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Florida Amendments 5 & 6 Pass, Parties Lose Right to Gerrymander

BRADENTON -- Despite a strong push by special interest groups to paint this as a partisan issue in the final week before elections, voters mustered up the will to make partisan redistricting a thing of the past. Amendments 5 & 6 will require state and congressional districts in Florida to be drawn in a logical and cohesive manner that will keep communities intact in terms of representation and prevent the party in power from carving districts in a manner that helps only to ensure victory.

The amendments will come into play almost immediately, especially if Rick Scott is certified as the winner of the Florida Governor race. Since Scott is a Republican and the party controls both chambers of the legislature, the GOP would be able to dictate the 2012 redistricting without the threat of veto. It remains to be seen how the amendments will impact the congressional makeup of the state or whether there will be mountains of litigation required before they are successfully enforced.

Critics of political machines won another victory when the repeal of the public finance component of statewide elections failed to carry the required 60 percent in Amendment 1, which received 53 percent voter support. There have been many valid criticisms of the current policy, though the legislature has failed to show any interest in fixing them at their level. With the repeal defeated, it should be hoped that such remedies will be sought so that the opportunity to run for major public office will not continue to be limited to a shrinking class of citizens that require the increasing support of special interests.


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