We get the latest on the legal challenges to Gov. DeSantis's congressional district map
Back in 2010 voters in Florida approved two amendments to the state constitution that aimed to stop legislators from drawing partisan state and federal political districts. The Fair Districts Amendments, which received 63% of voter support, say districts must be compact and contiguous, as equal in population as possible, must follow existing boundaries as closely as possible, and must be drawn to allow minority voters to elect representatives of their choice and to participate fully in the political process.
In 2012 when state lawmakers worked on the redistricting process they chose maps that favored the republican party, but claimed they had been submitted by members of the public, although that wound up to not be true as was discovered during a series of lawsuits that stretched over four years. In the end new nonpartisan maps were chosen by a judge.
Now, the redistricting process is playing out again and is again facing legal scrutiny. After lawmakers passed a congressional district map, governor Ron DeSantis vetoed their selection and in the end the legislature wound up approving a map submitted by the governor’s office during a special session.
Civil and voting rights groups say the governor’s map violates the Fair Districts Amendments and diminishes the voting power of minorities, particularly in congressional Districts 5 in north Florida, and District 10 in Central Florida.
As things currently stand the governor’s map is moving forward, but two lawsuits, one filed in the federal district court in Tallahassee, and the other filed in state court in Tallahassee, are working their way through the process and will likely wind up before the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
To get the latest on this ongoing process we spoke with Ellen Freidin, a Miami-based attorney and leader of the Fair Districts Coalition.