November 1, 2023

Florida Court to Hear Case That Could Reshape Congressional Maps, Impact Future Elections

A Florida appeals court heard arguments this week that could challenge the state's congressional map and impact future elections.

The current map developed under the efforts of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis favors conservatives in the state, with Democrats claiming that the new districts discriminate against Black voters.

"Florida Solicitor General Henry Whitaker argued the current map is 'race-neutral' rather than being unconstitutionally gerrymandered to create a district as the former black majority district did," according to the Washington Examiner.

"Jyoti Jasrasaria, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, argued that the map does not comply with the Florida Constitution and that it went against prior state Supreme Court precedent," the outlet noted.

"The case centers on an overhaul of North Florida’s Congressional District 5, which in the past elected Black Democrat Al Lawson," the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"The voting rights groups and other plaintiffs argue that the overhaul violated part of the constitutional amendment that barred drawing districts that would diminish the ability of minorities to elect representatives of their choice," it added.

The current map was passed by the state in 2022 under a Republican majority. If the court rules against the map, any changes would likely be at least one seat favorable for Democrats to win in the House.

The case is looking at a ruling later this month, with the Florida session making any needed changes during 2024.

It is uncertain whether the changed map would be in effect in time to impact next year's election but would certainly be changed in time for the 2026 House vote if required.

The legal battle comes as Republicans hold a slim majority in the House that Democrats seek to take back next year as voter turnout is expected to be at its highest during the presidential election year.

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