Expert witness testifies Florida Congressional maps are gerrymandered

05/27/14 AP
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: redistricting, Florida Legislature

A statistics professor testified Tuesday that new political maps drawn by Florida legislators have a significant partisan bias.

Professor Jonathan Katz was questioned on the stand by attorney Abha Khanna during the trial to determine whether legislators broke the law when drawing up new maps for Congress.

"All we really need to do is to follow that simple recipe that I gave you about how to draw an efficient partisan gerrymander. In fact all this technique is doing is allowing us ex post to determine how well they did that and the answer is in this case is they did a really good job following the recipe for how to do a partisan gerrymander."

"Dr. Katz have you reviewed any of the testimony or emails from the legislature map draft in this case?"

"I have not."

"Do you have any information about who they may have consulted in drawing the map?"

"Other than the testimony I saw this morning, no."

"Did you have any information about how the draft maps changed over time?"

"I have no idea how the map changed over time."

"When you performed your analysis all you looked at was the resulting enacted map?"

"Correct. I pulled the data off of the Florida website and analyzed it."

"What, if anything, does your analysis reveal about the legislature's intent in drawing the map?"

"Intent is a legal question and I'm not a lawyer. What my analysis is is about whether or not the plan chose to ... a partisan bias. The answer is it does. They produced a partisan gerrymander."

A coalition of groups contends state legislators ignored a 2010 constitutional amendment that required them to draw up congressional districts that do not protect incumbents or members of a certain party.

Earlier in the day another lawyer for those groups, David King asked That’s Republican Party of Florida director of House Campaigns Frank Terraferma, about whether candidate performance was considered when drawing maps.

Attorneys for the Legislature have denied any wrongdoing. If the court finds the current districts unconstitutional, it could force legislators to redraw them.

Audio courtesy The Florida Channel

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