Florida judge blocks DeSantis’ redistricting map 'that targeted Black voters with precision': report

Florida judge blocks DeSantis’ redistricting map 'that targeted Black voters with precision': report
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis greets guests at Ashley's BBQ Bash hosted by Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) on August 06, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Seven of the 14 GOP candidates seeking the party's nomination for president were scheduled to speak at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images).

Florida 2nd Judicial District Judge J. Lee Marsh on Saturday determined that Governor Ron DeSantis' new voter redistricting map is unconstitutional, Fox News' Anders Hagstrom reports.

"Marsh ruled that the redistricting plan diminishes the ability of Black voters to elect their chosen candidates, particularly in the state's northern region. Marsh's order mandates that the state government begin producing a new map for congressional elections, though DeSantis' administration is likely to appeal the decision," Hagstrom explains.

"Central to the case is former United States Representative Al Lawson (D-Florida), whose district splintered under the new map. The lawmaker, who is Black, had previously enjoyed support from a wide base of Black voters in the district, but he lost his race by 20 points under the new map," Hagstrom continues. "Republicans in the Florida legislature had previously introduced a redistricting map that likely would have allowed Lawson to win re-election, but the DeSantis administration put forward its own version of the map and vowed to veto any other."

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Marsh told the court that "Plaintiffs have shown that the Enacted Plan results in the diminishment of Black voters' ability to elect their candidate of choice in violation of the Florida Constitution," Politico's David Kihara and Gary Fineout noted on Saturday, adding, "The section violated is commonly referred to as the Fair Districts Amendment, which states that lawmakers can’t redraw congressional districts that 'diminish' minority voters' ability to elect someone of their choice."

According to Politico, Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd texted reporters "that he disagrees with the decision and that the state will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, per Politico, National Redistricting Foundation Director of Litigation and Policy Olivia Mendoza lauded Marsh's ruling in a statement.

"This is a significant victory in the fight for fair representation for Black Floridians. As a result, the current discriminatory map should be replaced with a map that restores the Fifth Congressional District in a manner that gives Black voters the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice," Mendoza said, stressing that DeSantis "pushed for the discriminatory map that targeted Black voters with precision."

READ MORE: How Ron DeSantis is taking advantage of Hurricane Idalia

View Hagstrom's analysis at this link. Kihara's and Fineout's report is available here.

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