a florida redistribution plan A state judge ruled Saturday that a Republican-pushed Gov. Ron DeSantis violates the state constitution and banned it from being used in future US congressional elections because it affects black voters in northern Florida as their choice. Reduces the ability to elect a representative.
Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh sent the plan back to the Florida Legislature with instructions that lawmakers should create a new congressional map that complied with the Florida Constitution.
Marsh wrote, “Voting rights groups that challenged the plan in court have shown that the enacted plan resulted in reduced black voters’ ability to elect the candidate of their choice, in violation of the Florida Constitution.”
The decision was the latest in a spate of congressional maps in Southern states to be scrapped over concerns that they diluted the voting power of blacks.
In June, the US Supreme Court overturned a Republican-drawn map in Alabama, rejecting an effort by two conservative justices to side with liberals to undermine a landmark voting rights law. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court lifted its hold on the Louisiana political remap case, raising the possibility that the Republican-dominated state would have to redraw boundary lines to create a second mostly black congressional district.
In each case, Republicans have either appealed or vowed to appeal the decisions because they could benefit Democratic congressional candidates facing 2024 races under the redrawn maps. The Florida case will likely end up before the Florida Supreme Court.
Every 10 years – following the once-decade census – lawmakers in all 50 states, including Florida, redraw political boundaries.
DeSantis, a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has been criticized for favoring Democratic U.S. Representative Al Lawson, who is black, by designating his district and allowing a large number of black voters to be represented by white Republicans. He was voted out of office by being divided into conservative districts. ,
In an unprecedented move, DeSantis inserted himself into the redistricting process last year by vetoing a Republican-dominated Legislature’s map that would have preserved Lawson’s district. He called a special session, presented his map and demanded that MPs accept it.
In their lawsuit, voting rights groups claimed that the redrawn congressional map violated state and federal voting rights protections for black voters.
Blacks make up 17% of Florida’s population of 22.2 million. Under the new maps, the region stretching about 360 miles (579 kilometers) from the Alabama border to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Georgia border south to Orlando in central Florida is represented only by white members of Congress.
A Florida judge rejected defense arguments from Republican lawmakers that the state’s provision against diluting or eliminating minority-dominant districts violated the US Constitution.
Marsh wrote: “The Court finds that the defendants have not met their burden in this case.”