WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed against Florida’s new congressional map. The map, drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), was adopted by the Florida Legislature this week during a special session (you can read key updates from the session here). DeSantis vetoed previous maps passed by the Legislature in order to push forward his own map that obliterates a Black-performing congressional district in northern Florida. Despite concerns raised during the special session that DeSantis’ map will harm minority voters and skew heavily towards Republicans, the Legislature passed the map on Thursday on a party-line vote.
The lawsuit filed today on behalf of Black Voters Matter, Equal Ground Education Fund, League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Rising Together and individual voters challenges DeSantis’ congressional map for violating the Florida Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that the map violates multiple provisions of the Fair Districts Amendment of the Florida Constitution, enacted in 2010 with the support of an “overwhelming margin” of Florida voters. First, the plaintiffs argue that the DeSantis map violates the amendment by diminishing the ability of Black Floridians to elect their candidates of choice. According to the complaint, DeSantis’ map takes the current configuration of the 5th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Al Lawson (D), and breaks up the district’s Black population among four new districts, eliminating the chance for Black Floridians to elect their candidate of choice in any northern Florida district. Second, the plaintiffs argue that DeSantis’ map violates the amendment’s ban on partisan gerrymandering by intentionally favoring the Republican Party at the expense of the Democratic Party. In support of this claim, the lawsuit highlights that DeSantis’ plan is predicted to create 20 Republican districts and only eight Democratic districts, “resulting in an anticipated loss of three safely held Democratic seats and transforming two previously competitive seats into Republican-leaning seats” compared to the previous court-adopted map. The lawsuit asks the court to block DeSantis’ map and order the creation of a new map that complies with the Fair Districts Amendment.