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New maps threaten future of Black districts

admin | 3/1/2012, 4:30 a.m.

Both sides hope for quick resolution

As required by law, all proposed maps have been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice where the Obama administration, led by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, will have to pre-clear them. We hope that this will all be resolved before the qualifying period begins [June 4th - 8th] for the fall elections, Bernard added. If not, then we will be entering a very different territory. Both courts have the power to move the qualifying periods and probably will have to if the maps arent done early enough. First things first we need to get the districts right then we can move on with determining who will run for office in the fall.

Broward's Black leaders outraged

State Senator Chris Smith, a Democrat from Fort Lauderdale is one of several plaintiffs from among a group of Black Broward leaders who hope that the courts will order the County to go through the redistricting process again. Two seats come open this year because of term limits and it was anticipated that more Black voters would be added to the newly-drawn Districts 1 and 7. Instead, the lawsuit claims that Blacks were "packed" into District 9 already heavily-Black and represented by a Black commissioner, Dale V.C. Holness. The district is now 70 percent Black. Commissioners say they followed the law in approving the new maps. U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn will hear the case. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com