by: Samuel King Updated:TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —
The next steps in Florida’s redistricting battle will be decided tomorrow as a judge holds a hearing Tallahassee. Judge Terry Lewis ruled last week that Florida’s Congressional map was unconstitutional, because it was drawn with political advantage in mind. One of the districts at the center of the battle is the 5th District, represented by Corrine Brown.
“It’s just not what a district looks like, it’s representation,” Brown told Action News on Sunday.
Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee dropped their appeal, but asked the judge to allow them to redraw the lines after this year's elections.
"Even if a remedial plan were to be enacted today, it would be too late to implement the new districts at the approaching elections,” an attorney wrote in a court filing.
Primary ballots for overseas voters have already been sent, and the original qualifying period for the August primary has long passed.
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland told Action News his office would be prepared in case the judge decides it has to happen this year. But he says the impact would be wide-ranging.
“What we're talking about, even though there were two districts that were charged as being unfairly drawn, it will affect probably a third of the state,” Holland said. “We're taking millions of dollars to correct that with an immediate special election.”
Political experts said the redrawing of the maps would not only have a political impact on Brown, but also other House members.
“All of this stuff matters: where people live, how it impacts current incumbents. A lot of things go into play,” said Michael Binder, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida.
Brown has threatened to go to court over the judge’s ruling, which experts said could draw out the process even more.