Florida Republican legislative leaders said Tuesday they will not appeal a judge's decision to strike down Florida's congressional map, and will agree to draw new district lines. But the leaders urged the judge to clarify that his ruling will not affect the 2014 midterm elections.
“The Legislature does not presently intend to initiate an appeal of the Court's decision and will redraw the boundaries of Congressional Districts 5 and 10," said Senate President Don Gaetz and state House Speaker Will Weatherford in a joint statement.
Citing military and overseas ballots that have already gone out for elections under the current configuration, the Republicans argued, "Any attempt to change the districts at this late stage of the 2014 elections process would cause chaos and confusion and would threaten the rights of our deployed military voters. It has been the practice in other states and in Florida to remedy maps at a future election so as not to disrupt and disenfranchise voters."
Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis struck down Florida's congressional lines last week, ruling the Republican-drawn boundaries violate an amendment to the state constitution designed to curb gerrymandering. Lewis singled out the 5th and 10th congressional districts, represented by Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Daniel Webster (R), for running afoul of the Fair Districts amendment passed in 2010.
The current lines were drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2012 following the release of decennial census data.