A Florida judge has asked the state legislature to redraw the state’s congressional map by Aug. 15, holding out the possibility that Florida could postpone some or all of its House elections until after the scheduled general election on Nov. 4.
After weeks of nudging from Democratic groups and uncertainty for candidates running in House races, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis — who previously ruled the state’s congressional map violated the Florida Constitution — on Friday provided some clarity on how a new map could still affect the 2014 election.
“Even if a revised map was in place today, the legal and logical machinations it would take to have the election on November 4th under that revised map is not something justified by law or common sense,” Lewis said in the decision.
“There is just no way, legally or logistically, to put in place a new map, amend the various deadlines and have elections on November 4th, as prescribed by Federal law. … However it might be possible to push the general election date back to allow for a special election in 2014 for any affected districts.”
Lewis, who ruled last month that the Republican-controlled legislature made a “mockery” of Florida’s Fair Districts amendment by taking politics into consideration when drawing two of the state’s 27 congressional districts, asked the legislature on Friday to submit a “remedial or revised map” within two weeks, denying their request that the new map not be put in place until after the 2014 election. But Lewis did not take Democrats’ suggestion to have an independent special master redraw the map.
After that new map is submitted, Lewis said he would “consider additional evidence as to the legal and logistical obstacles to holding delayed elections for affected districts in 2014.” A hearing is set for Aug. 20, less than a week before the scheduled primary elections.