The Florida Supreme Court this week declined to hear a case that would call into question the newly-drawn congressional voting maps in the state, which voter advocacy groups argue lean in favor of Republican candidates and make it harder for Black voters to elect candidates of their choice.
The suit largely focused on the newly-drawn 5th congressional district, currently represented by Democrat Rep. Al Lawson. The suit argues that in spite of the fact that the district is more than half made up of Black voters, the new map will inhibit their ability to elect candidates of their choosing in future elections.
The new map means Republicans are poised to gain four new congressional seats, as 20 of the state’s 28 congressional districts lean Republican.
The court’s decision not to weigh in on the case means the new map, drawn by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, will likely remain in place through the November midterms, as Democrats strain to maintain control of the House and Senate.
DeSantis has defended the new map saying the current map is drawn unconstitutionally. The new map cuts the number of majority-Black districts in half, from four to two. Governor DeSantis previously vetoed all versions of the new map that did not completely eliminate the 5th district.
The debate over congressional maps is taking place across the country, as it does every time a new US Census is released. Maps that are considered more aligned with anti-gerrymandering efforts and laws have been approved in some states, like New York and Virginia, while other states like Florida and Ohio have fought to make changes to the maps that critics say work to oppress Black voters.
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