With Approval of Settlement Agreement, Miami Will Have a New City Commission Map

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Miami residents will vote under a new city commission map through 2030 following the approval of a settlement agreement today between the city and local organizations that prevailed in a racial gerrymandering challenge to the districts. 

At a meeting this afternoon, the Miami City Commission voted 4-1 to accept the long-awaited settlement, which failed to pass at a meeting earlier this month due to the absence of Commissioner Damian Pardo. Commissioner Joe Carollo was the sole member to vote against the settlement. 

In addition to implementing new districts that were proposed by the plaintiff organizations, the settlement places redistricting reforms on the ballot in November 2025. If approved by voters via a referendum, the reforms will amend the city charter to ban gerrymandering and establish a citizens’ redistricting commission to draft maps in all future redistricting cycles. 

As the city’s governing body, the nonpartisan five-member commission has the power to pass local laws, adopt regulations and more. Since 2022, Miami’s commission map has faced a federal legal challenge from local groups and residents who alleged that the districts were “drawn along racial lines for the predominant purpose of maintaining racially segregated districts.”

In an April 10 ruling, federal district Judge K. Michael Moore — a George H.W. Bush appointee — agreed with the plaintiffs, finding that the city’s commission map was intentionally designed to sort “citizens based on race…thereby denying them the equal protection of the laws that the Fourteenth Amendment promises.” 

The invalidated map included three majority-Latino districts along with one majority-white and one majority-Black district, which commissioners overtly admitted to creating based on racial considerations. 

Today’s settlement agreement marks the end of the contentious litigation over Miami’s city commission map, which has been proceeding through the federal court system for almost a year and a half. The lawsuit previously reached the 11th Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court — both of which prevented a redrawn map from going into effect prior to the city’s November 2023 elections. 

According to ACLU of Florida attorney Nicholas Warren, the new districts installed by the settlement agreement are more fair and representative of Miami communities. Warren, who served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs, said that the new map “unifies neighborhoods across the city – e.g. Coconut Grove, Overtown, Allapattah, Edgewater – that were divided along racial lines in City Commission-drawn maps struck down” in April. 

The settlement agreement will now head to Moore for final approval.

View the map here.

Learn more about the case here.