Voting rights activists are fighting back against a new redistricting plan in Florida that will significantly diminish Black representation.
On Friday (April 22), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new congressional map that slashes Black districts to just two in the entire state. A number of voting rights groups have filed a lawsuit against the bill that clearly benefits Republicans and dilutes minority electoral power, Tampa Bay Times reports.
The DeSantis-drawn congressional map is expected to reduce the number of Black Democrats by dismantling North Florida’s District 5, which stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. This district has historically given predominantly Black communities the power to vote in a Black representative.
Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Equal Ground Education Found, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and other voting rights organizations have called out the redistricting’s intent. Their lawsuit against the state says the new map violates the Florida Constitution and was purposely drawn up to favor one political party over another.
On Thursday (April 28), voting rights groups also filed a temporary injunction to block the bill. They argue that the new congressional map is illegal under the Fair Districts amendment, which sets redistricting guidelines in Florida.
The redistricting plan passed in the state's senate 68-38. Caucus members who opposed the alarming cut of Black voting districts yelled in the chamber, "What do we do when Black voters are under attack, stand up, fight back!"
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the newly drawn map is expected to increase Republican congressional seats from 16 to 20.