The group pushing for apolitical redistricting in Florida are flagging a robo-call by opponents to two Constitutional amendments that would ban political gerrymandering, calling it a “dirty trick.” From the in-box:
Miami, FL— Incumbent politicians, lobbyists, and special interests will stop at nothing to trick Floridians into voting against Amendments 5 and 6. FairDistrictsFlorida.org has obtained a recording of a robo-call that has gone out to registered voters in Leon County saying that they will lose seats in Congress and the Legislature if the amendments pass. These are absolute lies.
Here’s what the call says:
“This is an urgent Leon voter alert. Vote no on amendments 5 and 6.
They reduce our representation in Tallahassee and Washington by 3 members – yes, 3 members. Fewer representatives
mean we won’t get our fair share. Plus money for schools, jobs, health care, seniors, transportation and less minority representation. Less fighting for us.
5 and 6 are bad for Leon County. Stop this special interest, untested constitutional amendment. Vote no on 5 and 6… Leon County can’t afford the risk.
Paid for by protect your vote incorporated.”
This is not true and obviously calculated to frighten and confuse voters! Amendments 5 and 6 have nothing to do with the number of seats Florida will have in Congress or the Legislature, but rather will ensure that the Congressional and legislative districts we do have will be drawn fairly. Furthermore, the call implies that the amendments would lead to a decrease in funds for important public services, which again has nothing to do with the amendments and is meant to scare voters.
This robo-call adds to the dirty tricks politicians, lobbyists and special interests have engaged in to try to defeat the FairDistricts amendments. Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite sent an email last week from her public Congressional account which absolutely misrepresented the truth by saying that 5 and 6 will do away with current standards. In reality, the standards she described in her email are the ones 5 and 6 will create. They have never existed in Florida and that is why Amendments 5 and 6 are so desperately needed.
Amendments 5 and 6 will, for the first time, create rules for politicians to follow when they draw district lines so that they are required to protect voters’ best interests and not their own.
With voter approval, Amendments 5 and 6 will:
• Prohibit politicians from designing districts to favor themselves or their parties;
• Require them to make the districts compact and community based; and
• Provide stricter protections for minority voters to have the ability to elect representatives.
Listen to the call below:
Meanwhile, the League of Women Voters, which supports the Fair Districts Amendments, is pushing around a report saying that nearly a quarter of Florida’s legislative seats are uncontested this year, putting the state dead last in contested elections:
FLORIDA — In a recent survey by www.FollowTheMoney.org, Florida ranked last in competitive races. This year’s large number of unopposed state legislative candidates affirms the disturbing lack of competition. In next week’s election, for 32 incumbent lawmakers, the night will be over before it starts.
Fortunately, voters will have the chance this year to decide if rules should be established for drawing districts lines.
“This year, voters will have a chance to establish rules for lawmakers to follow,” Florida League president Deirdre Macnab said. “These will keep communities together, protect minority voting rights, and finally let voters choose their representatives, instead of leaving the parties and incumbents in charge.”
Every 10 years, Tallahassee legislators redraw districts using Census data. With no rules to guide them, guess what happens? They draw districts to ensure their own re-election. As a result, an astounding 98.2% of state legislators have been re-elected over the past 10 years, with Florida having the LEAST amount of competitive elections in the country, tied for dead last with California and Massachusetts. In other words, voters end up with no choices in many of our state districts.
The chair of the campaign behind Amendments 5 and 6, Ellen Freidin, said Thursday the high number of incumbents facing no opposition is one of the main reasons she is pushing for Fair Districts. The amendments, if approved by at least 60 percent of Florida voters, would guide the 2012 round of redistricting.
The Fair Districts amendments are supported by the NAACP, the LWV, the ACLU, AARP and Democracia Ahora, and recently drew the support of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and civil rights leader Rev. Joe Lowry. In opposition are most Florida Republicans, plus a handful of African-American incumbent Democrats who are hoping to hold on to their seats until they literally are carried out of them on a gurney.