Supervisors of elections to talk about court-ordered redistricting's impact on fall elections

Judge wants Florida Legislature to produce revised U.S. House maps by August 15


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Tuesday, supervisors of elections from across Florida will discuss the status of congressional redistricting after a Leon County judge ordered lawmakers to redraw the state's congressional districts over the next two weeks.

The redistricting mandate has many asking questions, especially if this year's elections will be delayed, and whether more elections will be added.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland told News4Jax that supervisors will participate in a conference call Tuesday to discuss the matter. Florida lawmakers will be back at the Capitol at noon Thursday to redraw the state's congressional maps, but many are wondering whether there will be enough time to complete the task.

"The question is really, ‘Can there be another election for the primary before November?' And it appears right now it probably cannot be," said Holland.

He said the process may directly impact voters at the polls this year, not to mention when they can actually vote.

The judge who ruled that a congressional map approved by lawmakers in 2012 was unconstitutional wants a revised plan by Aug. 15, and it has to be ready because this year's primary is still set for Aug. 26.

One idea being tossed around is to push back the general election. Holland told News4Jax that would impact many races.

"I think the plan we'll probably present is doing a special primary and a special general after the November election. However, that may take it into the beginning of next year and the judge will have to determine if that's feasible, if that can be allowed by constitutional law," said Holland.

Legislative officials said the hope is to make as few changes as possible to the district maps, which could mean moving just 2 percent of voters in the sprawling District 5, which runs from Jacksonville to Orlando.

Holland said he is hoping to have a plan in place as soon as possible.

"As the judge ordered, we have to come up with a plan for the Supervisor of Elections as well as the state, so we want to work together to see -- is it possible to have an election before the end of the year, a special election?" said Holland.