Two of Floridaâ€™sÂ MembersÂ of CongressÂ filed a lawsuit to take redistricting reform off the stateâ€™s November 2010 ballot. Representatives Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) oppose Amendment 6 to the Florida Constitution, which, combined with the preceding Amendment 5, is known as the FairDistricts proposal. Diaz-Balart asserts that he and Representative Brown are filingÂ the lawsuit to prevent Amendment 6 from getting on the ballot because the amendment â€œis riddled with inconsistencies andâ€¦would set unworkable standards in drawing districts.â€ The Sunshine State News wrote that Brown and Diaz Balart fear Amendment 6 â€œmisleads voters and could hurt minority representation in Congress.â€
The primary text of the proposal states thatÂ state legislative and Congressional districts â€œshall be drawn with[out] the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities.â€ Amendments 5 and 6 also call for all districts to be compact and contiguous. Â The FairDistricts proposal has been supported by traditionally-Democratic groups such as the Florida Education Association and Service Employees International Union. The NAACP supports Amendments 5 and 6, while some African American Democratic legislators — including Representative Brown — oppose them.
A citizen petition brought about the FairDistricts proposal, and in response the legislature added Amendment 7 to the November ballot. Amendment 7, through carefully-worded operatives, would effectively cancel out Amendments 5 and 6. Amendment 7 gives itself supremacy over all other constitutional amendments, and allows legislators to maintain communities of interest when redistricting the state. Instead of the clear-cut redistricting regulations of Amendments 5 and 6, Amendment 7 vaguely creates standards that must be followed during redistricting. Dubbed â€œthe poison pill amendment,â€ Amendment 7 could prevent redistricting reform in Florida. Howard Troxler of the St. Petersburg Times opined that Amendment 7 â€œis an attempt to trick the voters of Florida into wiping out Amendments 5 and 6.â€ The Sunshine State News reported that the Florida Democratic Party felt Amendment 7 â€œcould result in a disproportionate number of mostly Democratic-leaning, black voters pushed into a handful of districts.â€ The Florida NAACP filed a lawsuit to remove Amendment 7 from the November Ballot. The Florida League of Women Voters and Democracia AhoraÂ joined the NAACP in its lawsuit to block Amendment 7.