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

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Several Black state lawmakers from Central Florida spoke out condemning the new congressional map signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday, calling it unconstitutional.

With the new map, Democrats are set to lose three House seats.

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The Florida Legislative Black Caucus said the move is complete voter suppression.

“It was a blatant attempt to rig districts,” Rep. Kamia Brown said.

The new map cuts minority-controlled districts from four to two and takes away the 10th District here in Central Florida.

READ: Florida House passes congressional map drawn by DeSantis despite protest

Analysts believe with the new map, Republicans could also pick up four more congressional seats on Election Day.

“[The governor] shouldn’t have been voting on a map that wasn’t made by the legislature,” Rep. Travaris McCurdy, District 46, said. “He’s essentially grading his own work by approving maps he drew.”

READ: Gov. DeSantis vetoes Legislature’s congressional maps, calls special session to redraw districts

DeSantis called on the special session to approve the new map, citing legal concerns from the Equal Protection Clause for District 4 on the map approved by lawmakers last session.

Rep. Randy Fine is one of 68 lawmakers who voted in favor of the new map.

“There are two different legal theories at play here. One says redistricting based on race is unconstitutional and that’s what we believe. Democrats believe we should engage in racial gerrymandering and frankly disenfranchisement of voters,” Fine said.

READ: DeSantis, Florida lawmakers sued by groups over congressional maps

The Black Caucus says they are not going to let Republicans dilute their vote, whether it is battling in court or at the ballot box and on the streets, with protesting across the state.

“You’re going to start seeing people in the streets, it’s gotten to that point,” Sen. Randolph Bracy said.

There is $100 million set aside in appropriations in case it goes to court.

READ: DeSantis signs bill to dissolve Disney’s self-governing power

The League of Women Voters has already filed a lawsuit against the new map, claiming it violates the state constitution.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.