Republicans Want Fair Districts Initiatives off Ballot

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At first glance, it seems a little strange that despite the fact Florida is a classic swing state that actually has more registered Democrats than Republicans, the GOP controls both houses of the state legislative by large majorities and sends more Republicans to the House in DC.

That's because after the 2000 census, the legislature, controlled by Republicans, perpetrated what is believed by many observers to be one of the most shameless cases of gerrymandering in the nation. As an example, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart chaired the house redistricting committee then, and it's generally held that he drew the boundaries for Congressional District 25 so he could win it himself.

A group called Fair Districts Florida is trying to get two amendments on the 2010 ballot that would discourage drawing districts for political reasons and make them follow more sensible geographic and community boundaries.

Republicans, though, say this might lessen the number of minorities who hold office, all the while completely ignoring the fact that, publicly at least, it would lessen the number of Republicans who hold office.

So they're asking the Florida Supreme Court to keep the initiatives off the ballot, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

It's nice and all that Republicans are feigning concern for minority representation, but in the long run, does it really help minorities if the party preferred by many minorities remains in the legislative minority?

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