July 10, 2015

The Washington Post: One Of America’s Weirdest Congressional Districts Has Just Been Trashed By The Florida Supreme Court


By Michael E. Miller and Nick Kirkpatrick

The Washington Post


Destroyed records. Shadowy projects with names like “Sputnik” and “Frankenstein.” And a college student whose identity was stolen to provide cover for political operatives.

Welcome to Florida, where the tentacles of gerrymandering are as tightly coiled around the statehouse as an invasive Burmese python.

Take Florida’s infamous 5th Congressional District, for example. It runs from near Jacksonville in the north, hooks east for a few miles, then west for a few miles, narrows to the width of an interstate highway for a while, cuts west all the way over to Gainesville, then swivels back east and southeast, finally arriving at Orlando, a distance of about 140 miles, sweeping in black neighborhoods along the way in order to create a “minority-majority” district.

It’s been described by a federal judge as “visually not compact,” “bizarrely shaped” and defying “traditional political boundaries” with what critics called “finger like extensions,” “narrow and bizarrely shaped tentacles” and “hook-like shapes.” It resembles no known species or geometric form. It does look an awful lot like the Potomac River from the air, however.

Read more here.

July 10, 2015

States in the Spotlight