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Judge strikes down DeSantis’ new plan for congressional map

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — UPDATE: A judge struck down Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new plan for a congressional map.

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Judge Layne Smith said the map violates the Florida Constitution.

He pointed to the fair districts amendment, a map drawn by the legislature before DeSantis’ veto and CD5 approval from the state supreme court.

The case will head to the District Court of Appeal.

The redistricting map would have sliced Jacksonville in two, eliminating a Black opportunity district. it would have also split Orlando into three, diminishing Black votes in Orange and Seminole counties.

Original story:

A judge in Tallahassee will take up the debate over the new plan for Florida’s congressional districts.

Last month, Republican lawmakers passed a new map that would change which district some people live in.

Some Central Florida districts are at play here. All of them usually vote Democrat and that could change.

Since Gov. Ron DeSantis’ redistricting maps were passed, several voting rights groups have been fighting to change them back.

READ: Groups file lawsuit against DeSantis over new congressional redistricting maps

They are hoping the judge sees things their way.

“They’re drawing political maps that disproportionally favor the Republican party,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark with Equal Ground Florida.

That’s why a number of civil and voting rights organizations filed a lawsuit, asking for an injunction so lawmakers can get back to the drawing board and come up with a map they feel would be fair, especially for Black and brown voters.

DeSantis’ new voting map is expected to increase from 16 to 20 the number of congressional seats held by Republicans, based on 2020 election results.

READ: ‘Blatant attempt to rig districts’: Black lawmakers condemn DeSantis-approved congressional map

Also, it is expected to reduce the number of Black Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation by changing a district in Central and North Florida.

Sabatini said there’s nothing wrong with the governor’s new voting map. That’s why he voted in support of the changes.

“They are trying to get us to draw crazy, squiggly lines to gerrymander the map to get more districts based on race, and that’s just wrong,” said Rep. Anthony Sabatini.

READ: Governor’s office releases proposed congressional redistricting map

We will let you know what happens in court on Wednesday.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

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