“The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified changes,” wrote T. Christian Herren, chief of the voting section of the department’s Civil Rights Division, in a two-paragraph letter dated Tuesday. “However, we note that Section 5 expressly provides that the failure of the Attorney General to object does not bar subsequent litigation to enjoin the enforcement of the changes.”

The usually routine preclearance process was thrust into the headlines earlier this year, when Gov. Rick Scott withdrew the state’s application on Amendments 5 and 6, saying it was in keeping with his moratorium on new regulations. Eventually, the Legislature filed an application for the amendments, which were approved in the November elections.

Because of a history of racial discrimination in five counties, Florida has to submit all changes to voting and elections laws to the Department of Justice for preclearance.

Democrats and advocates for the “Fair District” amendments, aimed at limiting lawmakers’ ability to craft gerrymandered districts based on political considerations, hailed the agency’s letter.

“These constitutional amendments are now the law of the land,” said Dan Gelber, general counsel for FairDistricts Now, a successor to the campaign that passed the amendments. “ ... Getting incumbents to accept the idea that they can’t draw their own districts has been very difficult.”

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith, suggested that the Department of Justice’s decision was simply the first step in what is expected to be a contentious battle over the political future of the state.

“The Florida Democratic Party will not sit back and allow the will of Floridians to be frustrated or delayed by those who simply seek to deny Floridians fair elections in fair districts,” Smith said.

“While today’s approval was a huge step forward, we will continue fighting for a fair redistricting throughout the reappointment process.”

But some Democrats oppose the changes. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., is one of the two members of the state’s congressional delegation suing in federal court to overturn Amendment 6, which governs the drawing of congressional districts. Brown, whose heavily black district snakes through Jacksonville and Central Florida, has raised concerns that some minority districts could be dismantled to comply with the standards -- an interpretation supporters of the amendments reject.

Stephen Cody -- the attorney for Brown and her co-plaintiff, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla. -- said the Department of Justice’s letter affects the case “absolutely in no way,” because the suit is based on a different concept.

“That’s got nothing to do with our claim that the U.S. Constitution directly grants the Legislature the power to draw districts,” he said.

Oral arguments in that case are scheduled for July 29.

Private Prison Money Flows to Florida's Political Campaigns

Florida’s private prison industry gave nearly $1 million in campaign contributions during the 2010 election cycle, the most the industry has given over the last decade. Our researchers recently noticed that the newly enacted $69.7 billion budget that includes provisions to privatize at least 16 prisons in the southern third of the state and quadruple the number of Florida prisons run by private firms.

The majority of the private prison industry contributions was supplied by four companies: GeoGroup, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Global Tel* Link, and Armor Correctional Health Services. Since Florida’s contribution limits cap corporate donations at $500 per candidate per election, these private prison firms gave most of their money to the state Democratic and Republican parties, which can receive unlimited amounts from corporations, showing a distinct preference for the Republican party.

RT TV Talks to Cuentame's Axel Caballero and the success of the Immigrants For Sale campaign!

To find out more about the project visit:
Discuss at:

Clerk of Courts Howard Forman's wife Susan, Passed Away

SUSAN FORMAN has passed away this morning.
As you know, Susan was the Democratic National Committee Woman for many years and was a good and loyal friend to many candidates and activists over the years. Susan was also the wife of Clerk of Courts Howard Forman. She was loved and respected by folks all over our county and state.

Her Memorial Service will be on:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

11:00 am

Levitt-Weinstein 3201 NW 72nd Ave, Hollywood , FL 33024
Phone: (800) 343-5400

The cemetery is approximately ½ mile north of Sheridan Street and approximately 1 mile east of University Drive .

Florida Democratic Party Releases 2012 Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan

The Florida Democratic Party today released the Florida Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan laying out the proposed process for selecting Delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Over the next 30 days, the Florida Democratic Party will welcome public comments regarding the plan at, where the full plan can be viewed.

“I would like to thank Florida Democratic Party Secretary Rick Boylan, the members of the Select Committee on Delegate Selection, and the Subcommittee on Affirmative Action Chaired by Ron Mills for their work in crafting the Florida Democratic Party’s proposed Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan,” said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith. “This plan ensures that the voice of Florida Democrats will be heard and our Delegation will be seated at the 2012 Convention in Charlotte. While we sincerely hope that the Republicans choose to follow the rules by setting the primary for March 6th, this plan provides us with the flexibility needed in our delegate selection process so Florida Democrats won’t be disenfranchised by the actions of Republican politicians in Tallahassee.”

The Delegate Selection Process will work as follows:

· Should the Presidential Preference Primary be held on or after March 6th, in compliance with the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee rules, the results of this election will be used to apportion Delegates similar to the process used by Florida Democrats in past Presidential Primaries.

· Between April 14th and May 5th of 2012, each County Democratic Party will host a caucus to elect Delegates to a State Convention.

· Should the Presidential Primary be held in compliance with the rules, the pledged delegates elected at the county caucus will be reflective of the Presidential Primary results. Should the Presidential Primary be held before March 6th, the county caucuses will serve as the first step in allocating delegates to the State Convention.

· In June, the 1538 delegates elected at the county caucuses will gather at a State Convention to elect Florida’s 258 District-Level Delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The District-Level Delegates will then elect the 31 Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) Delegates, the 51 At-Large Delegates, and the 20 At-Large Alternate Delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Additionally, this Florida Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan ensures that our delegation represents the great diversity of our state and the Florida Democratic Party.