Florida Legislature Wants Gov. DeSantis to Send Redistricting Map He Supports

Florida Legislature Wants Gov. DeSantis to Send Redistricting Map He Supports ron desantis points and speaks during a florida news conference Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

By Charles Kim | Tuesday, 12 April 2022 01:19 PM

The Republican-controlled Florida State Legislature wants GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis to send them a congressional redistricting map he would support after previously vetoing a map the body passed and the State Supreme Court approved.

"Our goal during the special session is to pass a new congressional map that will both earn the governor's signature and withstand legal scrutiny, if challenged," The Hill reported State Senate President Wilton Simpson and State House Speaker Chris Sprowls wrote in a memo Monday. "At this time, legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session. We are awaiting a communication from the governor's office with a map that he will support."

DeSantis vetoed the earlier map, calling a district along the Georgia border from Tallahassee to Jacksonville currently represented by Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., as "unconstitutional," The Hill reported.

"This is a dangerous and unprecedented move," the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida posted on Twitter Monday, following the governor's decision to veto the earlier map. "The Florida legislature's decision to cede this decennial process of redrawing lines for congressional districts to Gov. DeSantis is undemocratic. People should pick their politicians, not the other way around."

According to Politico, DeSantis sent a number of his own maps to the Legislature earlier this year and is ordering the state's lawmakers back to Tallahassee for a special session to get a map approved ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

NBC News reported DeSantis denied trying to gerrymander the district to favor Republican candidates, but believes it is already tilted to Democrats.

"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," Moné Holder, Florida Rising senior director, an advocacy group in the state, told NBC.

On March 31, a federal judge blocked a new Florida voting law restricting the use of "drop boxes" to collect ballots, third-party voter registration, mail voting, and "line warming," where party activists provide water and food to voters waiting to cast their ballots.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker called the majority of the new law "unconstitutional,” and ordered a permanent injunction on its implementation.

"[Plaintiffs] allege that SB 90 runs roughshod over the right to vote, unnecessarily making voting harder for all eligible Floridians, unduly burdening disabled voters, and intentionally targeting minority voters — all to improve the electoral prospects of the party in power," Walker, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, wrote, according to NBC. "Having reviewed all the evidence, this court finds that, for the most part, plaintiffs are right."

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