I am pleased to see the list of Florida Bar leaders and other highly regarded Floridians on all sides of the political spectrum who have come together to support Amendments 5 & 6. Florida has needed redistricting reform for decades. The current system does not allow for fair elections in most districts.
As Chair of the 1978 Constitution Revision Commission, when Democrats were in control of the legislature, we attempted redistricting reform. It was clear that the legislature was unfairly drawing districts to favor the dominant party.
With bi-partisan support, the CRC voted for changes similar to those in Amendments 5 & 6. Our goal was to prohibit drawing districts in Florida for partisan purposes.
Then, in 1993, the Florida Senate — led by Republican statesmen — passed a similar reform unanimously. Sadly, a Democratic majority in the House voted it down. Now Republicans are in charge, but both have been equally discriminatory.
None of the earlier attempts made it into the Constitution. Amendments 5 & 6 could be our last shot at making these much needed changes. We cannot let this opportunity slip away. Every one of us must help.
It is quite rare to have every newspaper in the state agree on an issue, yet Florida's papers have come together in complete support of Amendments 5 & 6. I urge you to do everything in your power to be sure that every Floridian understands that, as the Sarasota Herald Tribune said, "Voting for these amendments is one of the best things you will be able to do this year …."
This is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of fairness and good government just as it was when the Democrats were in control. Please go to www.FairDistrictsFlorida.org and do everything you can to help.
Talbot "Sandy " D'Alemberte is former president of the American Bar Association and president emeritus of Florida State University.