On the chopping block: Florida’s 5th Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Al Lawson, which connects black communities from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Under the new map, Jacksonville, the city with the largest black population in the state, is divided into two Republican-leaning districts.
Also: the 10th Congressional District, currently represented by Representative Val Demings, a black Democrat. The new map reduces the number of black voters in the Orlando area. Demings is currently running for the US Senate.
The map is expected to expand the current Republican advantage of between 16 and 11 seats in congressional districts to up to 20 of the 28 districts — and possibly help Republicans to reverse control of the US House of Representatives in November.
Many Democrats and voting rights advocates denounced the move and even tried to stop the passage of the new maps with a protest on the state floor.
Representative Angie Nixon, one of the Democrats who protested loudly on the House floor, called the map an “attack on democracy,” and called DeSantis a “bully.”
The map was pushed by DeSantis himself. The Republican governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate broke with tradition this year by injecting himself into the process of redistricting the decimal places.
He says the map he signed into law last week is “ethnic neutral”.
Challenge map for voting rights groups
Less than 24 hours after the GOP-backed maps were passed, the first legal challenge was filed. The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of civil rights groups, including Black Voters Matter and the League of Women Voters of Florida.
The move in Florida comes against the backdrop of the growing political power of people of color – and fears that redistricting maneuvers will silence their voices.
Democrats made up 83% of the colored members, while 17% of non-white members were Republicans.
Signing the Election Power Bill into law
The new map is just one of the laws of attraction that have been enacted in Florida in recent days.
Voting rights groups have raised concerns that an electoral police unit under the authority of a partisan governor could turn into a political weapon.
During a press conference, DeSantis said that local election supervisors and prosecutors do not necessarily have the expertise to investigate voting complaints, and new officers will.
The governor added, “We just want to make sure that these laws are applied, whatever laws are on the books.”
JFK Group Features Courage
Also among the Foundation’s honorees are another little-known figure whose life has been disrupted simply for doing her job: Fulton County, Georgia, election worker and Andrea “Shay” Moss. She became the target of false accusations that she handled fraudulent ballot papers for President Joe Biden in the last presidential election.
She and Robbie Freeman — whose mother worked as a temporary election worker in Fulton County during the 2020 election — faced racial threats and death threats in the wake of the charges.
(The women recently reached a settlement with One America News Network in a defamation lawsuit against the channel, according to a case report filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington late last week. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.)
In its praise of Moss, the JFK said, “Despite this indiscriminate, undeserved and malicious attack, Moss continues to serve in the Fulton County Circuit for Registration and Elections and does the hard and invisible work of running our democracy.”