Here is a copy of my speech at the legislative redistricting hearings on July 27 in Orlando.
My name is Ann Hellmuth and I am president of the League of Women Voters of Orange County.
FIRST a question. WHY WON’T YOU SHOW US YOUR MAPS?
ARE YOU STILL STICKING TO THE EXCUSE that the constitution requires you to draw the districts during the 2012 regular session?
Because that is not true. You MAY NOT VOTE on the maps before 2012 BUT THERE IS NOTHING LEGALLY STOPPING YOU from drawing the maps NOW.
BY DRAWING THE PROPOSALS NOW:
You would give the public time to provide meaningful, informed input and the maps could be brought to the floor as a first order of business. The Legislature would then be able to vote on them by the end of the first week of the session - Jan. 13.
THIS WOULD DOUBLE the amount of time for review by the courts and the Department of Justice, which have 90 days after passage to review them.
AS THINGS STAND it is highly unlikely that districts will finally be approved before June 8 --- the filing deadline for candidates.
IS IT even conceivable that districts may not be finalized until August.? YES.
WHAT WOULD BE THE RESULT OF SUCH A LATE FINALIZATION?
In the words of the legislature’s OWN lawyer: …. “MASSIVE VOTER CONFUSION.”
IS IT YOUR INTENTION TO DELAY THE MAPS UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT TO MAKE IT HARDER TO CHALLENGE THEM?
IT SEEMS AS IF IT IS.....
IS IT YOUR PLAN TO GIVE ELECTIONS SUPERVISORS INSUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE FOR elections ….. thereby affecting absentee and overseas ballots, including those to the military?
It seems as if it is.....
IS IT YOUR PLAN TO GIVE Challengers or new candidates little if any time to mount campaigns THUS forcing voters to vote for candidates they have had little opportunity to get to know?
It seems as if it is......
YOU promise a THREE-DAY public viewing period before any votes are taken on a map proposal -- MAY I SAY LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.... YOUR GENEROSITY IS PERFECT NONSENSE. Three days to absorb the details and then give input on a complex subject like drawing maps is ridiculous..
Florida’s elections supervisors and other officials have worked hard to erase the memory of the 2000 hanging chads debacle ….. don’t set them up to fail in 2012 by resorting to backroom politics.