Florida Democrats Worried About Amendments 5 & 6

On election day, those of you in Florida will have the chance to vote on Amendments 5 and 6. If passed, they’ll place strict limits on how legislative and congressional district boundaries can be drawn. Although that could help democrats regain control of Tallahassee, not all are in favor.

Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown is on a mission.

“I want to make sure that minorities have an opportunity to elect someone of their choice,” she said. “Based on the way the initiative is written, you cannot do that.”

Brown’s teaming up with a bunch of conservative republicans. Back in 1992, she was elected to Congress in large part because of the shape of her district. It stretches all the way from Jacksonville to Orlando and includes large pockets of democratic and minority voters.

If Amendments 5 and 6 pass, she worries her time in Washington is done. Why? Well, political districts would have to be drawn by the state legislature in a compact, uniform way.

No longer could you draw a squiggly line stretching hundreds of miles. In Brown’s case, all those minority democratic voters might be split up, making it tough to win.

Thanks to sophisticated technology, you can now pinpoint the dividing line between heavily republican neighborhoods and heavily democratic ones, and then draw your map accordingly. But if the amendments were to pass, the GOP could be dealt one big bump in the road.

Heavily republican districts, the kind that parallel Brown’s, might become home to more democrats when they’re re-drawn. The republicans spearheading the campaign to defeat 5 and 6 say they’re focused on protecting minorities. But former state representative Curtis Richardson doesn’t buy it.

“To say that they're concerned about the voting rights of minorities and African-Americans in particular to me is a joke, because they've never had that interest or concern before, except under these circumstances,” he said.

They’re lines on a map that have become the frontline in the battle over political power in Florida.

The coalition against Amendments 5 and 6 are debuting a website, protectyourvote.com, while the group Florida Fair Districts is mobilizing to convince voters to pass the measures.

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