I wrote a few weeks ago about a state judge in Florida who determined that the redistricting maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature illegally drew districts to favor the GOP. Now that judge has ordered them to redraw the map and hinted that he could delay the November election if it isn’t done quickly and to his satisfaction.
Although top Florida Republicans have indicated they will not appeal Lewis’ original order declaring the state’s maps unconstitutional, they asked him to delay the impact of his decision until after the 2014 elections, essentially allowing one more slate of lawmakers to be elected using the illegal maps. In his original order, Lewis determined that two districts were drawn in order to transform a bloc of four districts “from being four Democratic performing or leaning seats in early maps . . . to two Democratic and two Republican performing seats in the enacted map.” Thus, if the old maps are allowed in 2014, Republicans will likely gain two more seats in the House than they would under lawful maps.In Friday’s order, Lewis orders the state legislature to “submit a remedial or revised map no later than noon on August 15, 2014.” Though Lewis does not reveal what he will do next, he does note that “[t]here is authority that both justifies pushing back the November 4th election date and suggests that logistically, it can be done. Under the circumstances before me, I believe that the law requires that I at least consider the possibility.”
There may be precedent for it, but it would be an exceedingly rare thing to do and one would think it would be a last resort for the judge.