The League of Women Voters of Florida have joined Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Equal Ground Education Fund, Florida Rising Together and several individual Florida voters in filing a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new congressional map.
The plaintiffs argue the congressional map, insisted upon by Gov. DeSantis and approved by the state legislature, was not drawn in compliance with the governing laws surrounding redistricting in Florida presently.
- The map violates a 2010 “Fair Districts” amendment to the Florida Constitution. Amendment 6, which was approved by 63 percent of Florida’s voters, prohibits diluting the opportunity to elect racial and language minorities to Congress. The Amendment also prohibits the diminishment of racial or language minority congressional districts regardless of the intent of the map drawers. The governor’s map violates the Fair Districts Amendment as it cuts Black districts from four to two. (Amendment to the Constitution as engrossed is pictured below)
- 2010’s Amendment 6 also prohibits gerrymandering districts to favor a political party, which is exactly what this new map does by giving a particular party an advantage in 20 of the state’s 28 congressional districts.
The current outcome of Florida’s redistricting process can be classified as a naked attempt by Gov. DeSantis to rig congressional elections in favor of his own party, which is at odds with both the spirit and the letter of Fair Districts. DeSantis’ stated goal of a “race-neutral” map has the practical effect of axing at least two Black members from Florida’s congressional delegation.
“The League and the other plaintiffs have chosen to not stand by while a rogue governor and a complicit state Legislature make a mockery of Florida’s Constitution and try to silence the votes and voices of hundreds of thousands of Black voters,” said Cecile Scoon, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “It is our belief the shameful refusal to protect the Florida Supreme Court’s previously created Black districts will directly harm Black voting power established by Florida Supreme Court and harms every citizen in the state, regardless of race. To allow the Governor to flagrantly break established law in the hopes that the court will change the law in the future destroys the rule of law. We will not be swayed by the Governor’s proclamations that the present law should be changed. We are all required to follow the law as it stands.”
The League of Women Voters of Florida was a lead plaintiff in successfully suing the Florida Legislature over its legislative and congressional boundaries at the conclusion of the 2012 redistricting process. The League finds no solace in returning to court a decade later to once again fight for fair representation and to ensure the rule of law is followed in the Sunshine State.