Fair Districts: Florida’s Best Chance

Fair Districts Amendments 5 & 6 are Florida’s chance to tell legislators to “check their party at the door,” and get back to the honor and dignity of representing us, the voters.

These two amendments stop lawmakers, regardless of party, from gerrymandering districts to favor themselves.  Year after year, significant numbers of incumbents run unopposed.  Why is that?

Every ten years, during the census the party in power re-draws districts, selecting homogeneous lists of voters thereby place-holding districts for the party until the next census.

Last session, lawmakers were downright abusive.  They accused voters of not “embracing change” when we objected to how SB6 transformed our kids’ test scores into a thumbs up/thumbs down vote to fire a teacher or penalize a whole school district.   Lawmakers have thin skin when it comes to “right-sizing” their hold over districts. Who can forget their frantic efforts last session to sponsor a bill (thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court) aimed at killing Amendments 5 & 6 in the cradle?

Fair Districts Amendments 5 & 6 were written specifically for voters.  1.7 million Florida voters signed the petition to place Fair Districts on the ballot this November.  Incredibly, every major newspaper in state agrees that we need to pass Amendment 5 & 6.  This is Florida’s chance to root out and dismiss under-performing legislators who disrespect the will of the people who elected them.

Voting yes for Fair Districts Amendments 5 & 6 is the one true chance we have as a state to reclaim balanced civil discourse.  Amendments 5 and 6, which include State Legislative and Congressional seats, assure that:

  • For the first time, constitutional standards are created that the legislature must follow in order to redraw lines for legislative and congressional districts.
  • District lines cannot be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party.
  • Districts must make sense and follow existing city, county or geographical boundaries.
  • There is no chance for lawmakers to draw districts which hurt the chances of minority voters to elect representation.
Why should we care?
  • There are currently no rules, giving the party in power unlimited discretion to draw district lines.
  • Incumbents have a 98.2% retention rate.
  • “Can’t lose” districts are now the norm allowing candidates to “pick their voters.”
  • Given the chance, both parties will do exactly the same thing.
Legislators who take their seats for granted will never be motivated to work for us.   Amendments 5 & 6 are a chance to level the playing field.  In business, employees who do a bad job get fired.  Lawmakers dislike teacher tenure and the notion of a “guaranteed job.”  That’s rich.  What legislators enjoy now is nothing short of “political tenure” designed to preserve seats in districts in perpetuity for one political party and point of view.

Florida has been through enough.   Let the people have their say.  It’s time to school our elected officials.  Voting yes for Fair Districts Amendments 5 & 6 will give our state a fighting chance.

 

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Author: fundeducationnow

Fund Education Now.org is permanent grass roots, non-partisan group created by parents to inspire and empower voters to advocate on behalf of Florida's children. We believe that Florida's public education crisis is about more than money. Parents, long silent on this subject, must now stand up and lead the discussion and clearly articulate what we, the end-users of public education, want and expect for our kids and our state.

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