In Shameless Decision, Ron DeSantis Will Personally Map Florida Congressional Districts
Florida’s legislative branch has given Governor Ron DeSantis the power to draft Florida’s new congressional districts after DeSantis vetoed the maps approved by state lawmakers earlier this year.
This unusual and shameless decision gives the ambitious governor of Florida the power to gerrymander the twenty-eight congressional districts of his state, and eliminate two Black-held seats while boosting the prospects for Republicans seeking a House seat.
This is one of the few stories around redistricting that makes San Francisco’s own redistricting scandals less infuriating.
DeSantis’s proposed map was rated ‘F’ by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project for Partisan Fairness. Opponents have declared it unconstitutional.
Desantis’ main objection to the maps presented by lawmakers appeared to be a north Florida seat held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat. The district runs from Tallahassee to Jacksonville and is 46 percent Black; it’s considered a seat where voters of color have the opportunity to elect the members of their choice.
State lawmakers, including Republicans, have argued that maintaining some form of the seat was needed to comply with state constitutional amendments governing redistricting, which say minority voting power cannot be reduced during the map-making process. But the Governor insisted that Lawson’s seat was an ‘unconstitutional racial gerrymander’ and he proposed a map that would split the district into several Republican-leaning seats.
"Today’s revelation is a continued scheme by DeSantis to erase minority access districts in Congress to create more seats for the Republican party…" #FL05 #Redistricting #FlaPol https://t.co/Nz5cX1FZ9C
— US Rep. Al Lawson Jr (@RepAlLawsonJr) April 14, 2022
Sources familiar with the governor’s thinking told NBC News last month that DeSantis wanted a court fight focused on provisions in the federal Voting Rights Act, as well as the state’s Constitution, that generally prohibit the dilution of minority voting strength.
Advocates lambasted Monday’s decision by state legislators.
“Just days after a federal court outlined how the DeSantis administration has carried on 20 years of policies that make it harder for Floridians to vote, especially Black voters in our state, now is the time to increase checks and balances in our state not to hand the Governor a blank check to remake the state however he wishes,” said Moné Holder, a senior director at Florida Rising, an advocacy group in the state.