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Florida’s 9th District Gerrymandering Affects Puerto Ricans

Dennis Freytes of IGUALDAD USA wrote the following comments:

Florida Legislators, acting on a Court Order by Judge Lewis to re-examine Florida Congressional Re-Districting Maps, made a discriminatory and shameful decision to dilute American Hispanic-Puerto Rican Votes (from 44% to 39% Hispanic) in US Congressional District 9.

According to the 2010 US Census, Orange, Osceola, and other Florida counties are “Minority Majority” meaning that Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians are a majority, yet Puerto Ricans (the second largest Hispanic group in the Nation) have no just political empowerment or proportional representation and are elbowed out in many ways from inclusion in high level appointments and jobs.

The Obama Administration filed a brief (on 11 Aug. 2014-Tuaua vs USA) before the DC Circuit arguing that Americans born in U.S. territories have no constitutional right to citizenship which means if you were born in Puerto Rico you have a non-permanent statutory (revocable by Congress) US Citizenship. Enough of National and Local political discrimination against loyal US Puerto Ricans/American Veterans!

Judge Lewis should not accept this wrong decision on revised district maps that plays against American Hispanics-Puerto Ricans who have been subject to inequitable institutional civil rights treatment since 1898, when Puerto Rico was forced to become a US Territory, without just representation in the Congress that determines its destiny. Now, here in Central Florida, another injustice is being committed with the indirect acquiesce of most elected officials, media, and others that don’t speak out!

If Judge Lewis rules to accept American Hispanic vote dilution in District 9, it will be a travesty against loyal US Citizens/Veterans that we American Patriots should not let stand!

Judge Terry Lewis ordered a redistricting on August 11th, in response to a lawsuit accusing legislators of gerrymandering. The redistricting has also drawn complaints from the public about a district map that concentrates Hispanic and African American voters in a single district. The League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and others claimed that the districts as drawn kept Hispanic and African American voters from having their appropriate degree of influence in other districts.

Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing districts specifically in order to influence voting. By drawing districts in odd shapes that include certain neighborhoods and exclude others, it is possible to increase the chances that a given district will vote for a given candidate.

The legislature made what Harvard expert witness Stephen Ansolabehere testified were only slight changes to the districting that sparked the controversy. The nonprofit coalition fighting against the gerrymandering proposed new districts and asked that Judge Lewis either accept their new proposal or lay out a new map of his own.

Judge Lewis, noting that absentee voting has already begun in the disputed districts, promised to make a quick decision on the case.

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