WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed in state court over Florida’s imminent failure to enact a new congressional map following the release of 2020 census data. After a drawn-out back and forth between Republican legislators and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Florida Legislature passed a congressional plan that includes two map options. Throughout the map drawing process, DeSantis made clear that he would not sign any map that maintains the current configuration of the 5th Congressional District, which he alleges is a racial gerrymander. Given that the Legislature moved forward with map proposals that do not significantly alter the 5th District despite DeSantis’ veto threats, the lawsuit concludes that there “is no reasonable prospect that Florida’s political branches will reach consensus and enact a lawful congressional redistricting plan in time for the upcoming 2022 elections,” and therefore the court must step in to enact a new map.
As a result of population growth over the past decade, Florida gained a congressional seat, bringing the total number of districts to 28. The plaintiffs point out that Florida’s current congressional map, which was drawn with 2010 census data, does not accurately reflect the state’s population, and therefore the current districts are malapportioned in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Given the state’s “near-certain” impasse and the fast approaching 2022 elections, the plaintiffs ask the court to implement a new map using 2020 census data that accurately reflects the state’s population and adheres to the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote.