Judge 'skeptical' about changing maps before Nov. elections

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Leon County Judge Terry Lewis has to decide how we vote this coming fall. Earlier this month, he ruled congressional maps were drawn illegally to favor republicans and the process needs to start over.

The legislature decided not to appeal the decision. But, Lewis hopes redrawn maps won't affect this year's elections.

"We wanted to put the process behind us," said Raoul Cantaro, attorney for the legislature.

"The next election we'll have compliant districts."

The plaintiffs, which includes the League of Women Voters of Florida, want two things - for Judge Lewis to redraw the maps and postpone the primaries or move election dates to give himself time to do so.

"It's not easy to do that, but the interest in having a constitutional election should prevail," said John Devaney, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said they mailed out 15,000 absentee ballots to voters three days ago.

"It's going to be difficult doing a recall on that," Sancho said.

But, in his opinion, this can all work out with redrawn maps.

"Do we print all the ballots over again and do it again? It causes confusion. I think focusing on a special election to solve the illegal districts that were drawn by the legislature is a better idea," he added.

In Lewis' initial ruling, he ordered two of the state's 27 districts be fixed. Both to fit within the "Fair Districts" constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2010.

He said he will have his decision by the end of next week.


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