The judge says he will stop the governor. Ron DeSantis’ redistricting plan

A state judge ruled that a map of Congress approved by the Republican governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis and his staff drawing are unconstitutional because he divides a circle where black voters can choose their representatives

Tallahassee Florida. – Map of Congress approved by the Republican Governor of Florida. A state judge said Wednesday that Ron DeSantis and his staff drawing are unconstitutional because it divides a district where black voters can choose their representatives.

Leon County Circuit Judge Lynn Smith said he will issue an official order Thursday or Friday to prevent Maps from working in the November elections. He made it clear that he would rule in favor of voting rights groups that defy maps.

Smith said the order would likely replace the DeSantis map with one of two that the legislature included in a bill and sent to DeSantis in March. The governor opposed the bill and later called the Legislative Council to a special session. The Republican-controlled House and Senate chose not to draw a new map, and instead passed the DeSantis map.

The challenge focuses on the area of ​​North Florida now controlled by the Democratic Representative of the United States. Al Lawson. The area stretches from Jacksonville more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) west to Gadsden County and nearly half of its population is black.

“The judge understands that this map is illegal and reduces the ability of African Americans to elect representatives of their choice,” Lawson said in a statement emailed to news outlets. The United States and the State Constitutions”.

DeSantis’ proposal sparked a protest by members of the Black House as the Chamber prepared to vote on the maps.

Smith said he will issue his order as quickly as possible so the state can immediately appeal it. It may be the conservative case of the Supreme Court that ultimately resolves the dispute.

DeSantis’ office confirmed it would appeal.

“As Justice Smith noted, these complex constitutional legal matters will always be adjudicated at the appellate level,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Finsky said in an email.

Smith said that while DeSantis’ map is more compact, the issue of allowing black voters to choose their representatives is more important.

“The district enacted and signed into law by the governor is separating 367,000 African American votes between four different counties,” Smith said in a video call with both sides. . “

Equal Ground, one of several voting rights groups that challenged the maps, applauded Smith’s decision.

“No Florida citizen – including Governor DeSantis – is above the law,” Equal Ground Foundation Jasmine Burnie-Clark said in a statement emailed to the media. in our ability to ensure our voices are heard.”

The governor’s office drew up a map that it described as racially and party-neutral, and said it complied with state and federal constitutions.

Smith said his ruling would be based on the state constitution, not the US constitution.

Qualification for federal office runs June 13-17.

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This story has been modified to correct a word in the judge’s quote to “nowhere,” not “no way.”

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