Salon: “Unprecedented and dangerous”: Florida GOP gives up power to draw new district maps to Ron DeSantis
Salon: "Unprecedented and dangerous": Florida GOP gives up power to draw new district maps to Ron DeSantis
Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature on Monday effectively handed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis control over the process of drawing the state’s congressional map for upcoming U.S. House elections, a move that voting rights advocates decried as an “unprecedented and dangerous” abdication of responsibility.
Caving to pressure from the right-wing governor’s office, Florida’s state Senate President Wilton Simpson and state House Speaker Chris Sprowls said in a joint statement that “at this time, Legislative reapportionment staff is not drafting or producing a map for introduction during the special session.”
The “Miami Herald” reported Monday that “while DeSantis has not produced a new congressional map since the Legislature made its final version, his general counsel, Ryan Newman, had earlier offered a map that experts said would have reduced Black and Hispanic voting strength in congressional districts, and that raised new questions about DeSantis’ commitment to the Fair Districts standards of the Florida Constitution.”
According to the “Orlando Sentinel”, “DeSantis also provided a seven-page analysis… making it clear that he thought the majority-Black Congressional District 5 should be eliminated.”
With the pivotal 2022 midterms looming, DeSantis has reportedly faced pressure from prominent figures in former President Donald Trump’s orbit, including Steve Bannon, to craft congressional maps that are even more friendly to Republicans. …
Last month, a pair of watchdog organizations filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis, Simpson, Sprowls, and other Republican officials in Florida, alleging that DeSantis improperly influenced the time-sensitive redistricting process and demanding court intervention to ensure that Floridians have the “equal, undiluted votes to which they are constitutionally entitled.”
The state’s U.S. congressional primaries are set to take place on August 23.
“By inserting himself into the map-drawing process in this inappropriate and unprecedented way, Governor DeSantis began to diminish the prospect that the Legislature would timely pass a legally- and constitutionally-compliant congressional map,” reads the lawsuit filed by Common Cause Florida and Fair Districts Now.