Election supervisors say new congressional maps needed by Dec. 1

News Service of Florida | Daily Record | 09/24/2015

Facing the likelihood of revamping precinct and district boundaries, election supervisors said in a court filing this week that counties need a new congressional map by Dec. 1.

The filing came as Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis plans to hold a hearing Thursday on congressional redistricting plans offered by the Florida House, Senate, voting-rights groups and other plaintiffs.

The hearing is part of a long-running battle about the constitutionality of current congressional districts, which the Florida Supreme Court ruled violate the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” standards approved by voters in 2010.

After considering the proposals, Lewis faces an Oct. 17 deadline to recommend a plan to the Supreme Court. In the filing Monday, the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections pointed to a need to revise precincts in advance of presidential primary elections scheduled for March 15.

That includes aligning precinct lines with revamped congressional districts and, in some cases, moving voters to new precincts, according to the filing.

The process includes getting approval from county commissions for the new precincts and being prepared to send out overseas military ballots 45 days before the presidential primaries. As a result, the supervisors said they need a congressional map by the beginning of December.

“Based on the presidential preference primary in Florida set to occur on March 15, 2016, and in order to have precincts established and voters therein notified of their proper precincts, supervisors of elections will need to have the final district map with new district lines provided to the counties no later than December 1, 2015, in order to be properly prepared for that election,’’ the filing said.

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