Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday vetoed proposed congressional maps sent by the GOP-led Legislature as part of his push for a more aggressive Republican gerrymander and a challenge to a predominantly black district that encompasses Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida , includes.
Lawmakers will return to the state capital, Tallahassee, in a special session April 19-22 to try to pass a card. Florida isdue to its population growth shown in the 2020 census.
DeSantis’ push comes as the new election cycle has gone better than expected for the Democrats. Nationally, Democrats expect a net gain in seats so far despite controlling the process in fewer states than Republicans do, though several Republican-led states have yet to complete their reallocation process.
The map proposed by DeSantis earlier this year would have created a split of 20 Republican-leaning seats and eight Democrat-leaning seats. Your current delegation consists of 16 Republican and 11 Democratic members.
Lawmakers sent two cards to DeSantis. Both add a Republican-leaning seat. The primary map was intended to appease DeSantis by compacting Florida’s 5th Ward, the primary target of his wrath, around Jacksonville. Your secondary map keeps the district as it is currently, a sprawling north Florida district stretching from Jacksonville, Florida to parts of Tallahassee, Florida.
DeSantis general counsel Ryan Newman claimed in a memo accompanying the governor’s veto that the cards violate the US Constitution because they allocate voters “primarily on the basis of race.” It states that Florida’s 5th Circuit is a “racially manipulated district” and not “closely tailored to achieve a compelling state interest.” Newman and DeSantis have also criticized the shape of the district, which spans about 200 miles in North Florida.
In the version of Florida’s 5th Circuit that has been used for the past decade, the Black population makes up 47% of the borough’s population, according to the Census Bureau. Nemwan’s memo states that the district’s voting-age population of blacks in the proposed primary map is 35.32%, which he said would violate the state’s constitution anyway.
“There is no good reason to believe that District 5 had to be drawn as a minority district to satisfy Section 2 of the Voting Act because the minority group in question is not large enough to form a majority in a geographically compact area,” Newman wrote .
The Florida Constitution requires that districts may not be drawn by minorities “with the intent or result of denying or reducing equal opportunities” to “participate in the political process or reduce their ability to elect representatives of their choice.” The state Supreme Court ordered Florida’s 5th Circuit to be redraw in 2015 as part of a mid-decade overhaul of the map due to Republican manoeuvring.
In a Tuesday news conference, DeSantis said lawmakers have an “understandable eagerness” to comply with the Florida Constitution but “forget to make sure what they’re doing conforms to the 14th Amendment.”
Michael McDonald, a political scientist and district redistribution expert at the University of Florida, said this redistricting cycle is an opportunity for DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential nominee for 2024, to look heavily at the grassroots level.
McDonald added that Florida, which was ordered by the state Supreme Court to redraw its lines in 2015, “is the best opportunity for Republicans to gain an advantage — because they can go from a neutral map to a partisan Republican Gerrymander.” “.
“DeSantis doesn’t want to look like the governor who had a chance to give the Republicans control of the House because he didn’t stand up and get a good plan out of Florida,” he said.
Al Lawson, a black Democratic congressman, has represented Florida’s 5th Circuit since 2017. In a statement earlier this month, Lawson said the primary map revolving around Jacksonville “was drawn with the clear intention of creating additional seats for a political party at the expense of black voters.”
“This unconstitutional map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Districts provision of the Florida Constitution by diluting the voting rights of minority interest groups in North Florida and reducing the ability of African American voters west of Jacksonville to choose their representative election.” ” he wrote in a statement.
In a statement Tuesday, Florida Republican leaders in the Legislature said, “It behooves us to make every effort to reach a legislative solution.”
“We look forward to working with our colleagues and Gov. DeSantis during the upcoming special session on a congressional map that deserves the support of the Legislature and the Governor and fulfills our constitutional obligation for the 2022 general election process,” wrote the Florida Senate President, Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls.
DeSantis signaled that he would rather find a solution with lawmakers than let state courts redraw the map.
“We all agree that we need to work through this,” DeSantis said Tuesday. “Our goal in doing this is to have a constitutional map.”