Florida Supreme Court to rule on massive fight to restore Black voting district

Florida Supreme Court to rule on massive fight to restore Black voting district
FLORIDA'S TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Voting rights organizations who filed a lawsuit against state authorities over a Florida redistricting plan supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis have consented to limit the case to one congressional seat that was reconfigured and reduced Black voting power in north Florida.

According to court documents in Tallahassee, the agreement reached late last week opens the possibility that the seat will be returned to a district with a majority of Black voters, depending on how a state judge rules and whether the judge's decision endures rounds of appeals all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

DeSantis, a contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, came under fire for effectively forcing Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Black man, out of office by dividing his district and displacing a sizable Black voter population into Republican-leaning white districts.

Now that one seat is the subject of the complaint, comparable objections to the redistriction of congressional districts in central Florida and the Tampa Bay region are dropped. It will also drop two further claims.

Voting rights organizations alleged in their lawsuit that the revised congressional district lines violated state and federal statutes that safeguard Black voters' voting rights.

Black people make up 17% of Florida's 22.2 million residents. According to the new maps, only white members of Congress are in charge of a region that stretches 360 miles (579 kilometers) north from the Alabama border to the Atlantic Ocean and south from the Georgia border to Orlando in central Florida.

Last year, DeSantis made an unprecedented intervention into the redistricting process by vetoing the Republican-controlled Legislature's blueprint that retained Lawson's district, calling a special session, proposing his own model, and demanding lawmakers accept it.

The DeSantis-backed congressional map was initially declared illegal by a federal judge last year, but an appeals court upheld it before the primary and general elections and remanded the issue to the lower court.

Federal court is currently hearing a different lawsuit on Florida's congressional districts.
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