Florida officials tell judge election under new map not feasible in 2014

(Map via Wonkblog)
(Map via Wonkblog)

Florida elections officials told a judge Friday that it's not feasible to hold an election under a new congressional map until 2015.

The secretary of state and the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections informed Judge Terry P. Lewis in writing that it would take several months to prepare for an election under a new map the judge recently ordered.

"The earliest Tuesday on which a special primary election can be held is March 17, 2015,  and the earliest possible date for a special election is May 26, 2015. Such a schedule in all likelihood violates federal law requiring that members of Congress be elected on November 4, 2014, and serve two-year terms beginning on January 3, 2015," Secretary of State Ken Detzner's lawyer wrote. 

Earlier this month, Lewis ordered the Republican-led state legislature to submit a new map to him so that he can review it and swiftly decide whether an election under newly drawn lines can take place this year. Lewis will hear arguments on the map on Aug. 20

At issue are the 5th and 10th districts, represented respectively by Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Daniel Webster (R). Lewis ruled they were drawn in violation of an amendment to the state constitution adopted to curb gerrymandering.

Republicans have argued that it is not realistic to hold an election under the new lines this year. The outlook provided by the secretary of state, who is a Republican, could bolster their argument. The Aug. 26 primary is less than two weeks away.

The elections supervisors said that holding a special election under the new lines on the same day as the regularly scheduled general election would "risk compromising" the integrity of the elections.

The legislature approved a new new map this week, with only slight differences from the current map. It's ultimately up to the judge to sign off on it.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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