Florida GOP won't appeal congressional redistricting ruling

Florida state lawmakers on Tuesday signaled they would not appeal a ruling that requires the redrawing of two congressional districts in the state.  

However, the GOP lawmakers are pressing the circuit court judge who handed down the ruling last week to not let the decision affect the 2014 elections, predicting that a change at this point could cause chaos.  

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, state Senate President Don Gaetz (R) and House Speaker Will Weatherford (R) said the legislature "does not presently" intend to appeal the decision to redraw Florida's 5th District and 10th District. 

"Any attempt to change the districts at this late stage of the 2014 elections process would cause chaos and confusion and would threaten the rights of our deployed military voters," they said, according to the newspaper

Last week, Florida circuit court Judge Terry Lewis found that the GOP-led legislature, while drawing two congressional districts, violated a state constitutional amendment that restricts the body from drawing congressional lines to either protect and incumbent or to benefit a single party. 

Gaetz and Weatherford said they respected the decision and noted that the judge left intact 25 of the 27 congressional districts in the state.

The ruling affects the districts of Reps. Corrine Brown (D) and Daniel Webster (R), but changing those Jacksonville and Orlando-based district could impact several of the state's other districts. 

Gaetz and Weatherford point out that thousands of military and overseas voters are already eligible to vote by absentee ballot with the current lines drawn. The state's primary election is a little more than a month away on Aug. 26. 

Hundreds of thousands of other absentee ballots for the primary are slated to be sent out next week, they said. 

"It has been the practice in other states and in Florida to remedy maps at a future election so as not to disrupt and disenfranchise voters," they said.