In Florida, An Email Trail On Redistricting Raises Questions

Feb 5, 2013
Originally published on February 5, 2013 3:42 pm

Florida voters in 2010 approved constitutional amendments by nearly 2-to-1 margins that forbade state legislators from coordinating with political parties or favoring incumbents when drawing new congressional districts.

So what did lawmakers in Tallahassee do? The Republican leaders in charge of drawing new maps coordinated with Republican Party consultants to protect Republican incumbents.

How do we know? The Miami Herald has the details today thanks to a lawsuit that revealed dozens of emails among legislative staff, lawmakers and consultants.

Said The Herald: "Florida's legislative leaders appear to have authorized their staff to use private email accounts, personal 'dropboxes' and to engage in 'brainstorming meetings' with Republican Party of Florida consultants in attempting to draw favorable political districts, despite a constitutional ban on such coordination."

Florida voted for President Obama, yet it maintained strong Republican majorities in the statehouse and a Republican congressional delegation. The strength of those majorities could diminish, if the lawsuit results in new legislative districts more in line with what voters approved in 2010.

S.V. Dáte is the congressional editor on NPR's Washington Desk.

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