State legislators are currently in the process of redistricting, a process that occurs every 10 years and involves reforming old voting districts based on population shifts recorded by Census figures. Florida legislators have submitted two new district maps that preserve the two majority-Black Florida Districts, but DeSantis wants to use his own proposed map, which dissolves the two districts and further solidifies a white Republican majority in Florida.
DeSantis’ personal map could be in violation of the Voting Rights Act, which demands states preserve certain majority-minority districts to strengthen the minority vote. Regardless, DeSantis has threatened to veto legislators’ map and haul legislators back into a special session to further push his own.
Critics say DeSantis’ move is actually a ploy to further dismantle the Voting Rights Act because his case will inevitably set the stage for a court battle that would eventually reach the conservative-dominated Supreme Court. The 2020 census already undercounted Black people, Latinos, and Native Americans, so DeSantis is further repressing the Black vote by trying to eliminate districts is even more harmful.
The issue of Florida’s district maps are already in a legal battle: Florida residents have sued Florida’s secretary of state, arguing that Florida’s current congressional map, which was drawn with old 2010 census data, does not reflect the state’s population either, and therefore the current districts are malapportioned in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Given the state’s “near-certain” impasse and the fast-approaching 2022 elections, plaintiffs are asking the court to implement a new map using 2020 census data that accurately reflects the state’s population and adheres to the constitutional requirement of one person, one vote. Additionally, there is a second complaint filed, similarly arguing that the current maps from 2010 are inaccurate and demanding newer, fairer maps in time for the next elections.
Former U.S. attorney General Eric Holder raked DeSantis’s maps on Twitter:
DeSantis and the Republican legislature are failing Florida voters. They can’t agree on how unfair the maps should be. Enough with the games. The court must act and protect voters’ rights by stepping in to provide a fair, remedial Congressional plan.