Voting rights groups say Black representation in Florida is reduced after Gov. Ron Desantis signed a newly drawn congressional map they argue clearly benefits Republicans. The redistricting proposal makes it harder, they allege, for Black voters to select their own candidates. The congressional maps cut seats in Black districts to just two in the entire state.
A group of Black caucus members from the Florida legislature took action on the statehouse floor Thursday, alarmed about a congressional map that cuts seats in Black districts to only two in Gov. Ron DeSantis' congressional redistricting plan.
The DeSantis-drawn plan passed in the Florida State Senate 68-38 along party lines as members of the caucus chanted “what do we do when Black voters are under attack, stand up, fight back,” chants rang loudly through the chamber.
WJXT reports that DeSantis signed the bill Friday, as a number of voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against the state over the new congressional map. Some of the organizations include the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, and the Equal Ground Education Fund.
The lawsuit alleges the new map violates the Florida Constitution by diluting the electoral power of minorities. It also states the map was drawn up to benefit one political party over another.
Yesterday, groups filed for a temporary injunction to block the controversial redistricting plan, contending that an overhaul of North Florida’s Congressional District 5 violates a 2010 constitutional amendment — known as the Fair Districts amendment — that sets standards for redistricting in the state.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the map is expected to increase the number of congressional seats held by Republicans from 16 to 20. Projecting from the 2020 election results, the map is expected to reduce the number of Black Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation by changing a district in the Orlando area and North Florida’s Congressional District 5. District 5, currently held by Rep. Al Lawson, stretches from Jacksonville to west of Tallahassee. It has tied together Black communities which have been able to vote in a Black candidate. The district is dismantled under the changes DeSantis signed.
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