Voting Rights Groups Send Congressional Map Back for Review

Coalition files motion to reconsider Governor’s motives in map drawing 

Tallahassee, FL—Yesterday, Common Cause Florida and co-plaintiffs filed a motion for a federal court to reconsider its decision in the congressional redistricting case, Common Cause Florida v. Byrd. The co-plaintiffs argue that because Governor DeSantis was actively involved in the legislative process and had discriminatory intent, his intent cannot be separated from the process, and that the voting maps are discriminatory and therefore invalid under the law.

In March, a federal court upheld the governor’s congressional map that intentionally silences Black voters on the grounds that even if the Governor discriminated against Black voters, plaintiffs had not proven that the Legislature shared that discriminatory intent. The decision came after a weeklong trial in the fall of 2023, in which the court assumed that Governor DeSantis acted with discriminatory intent in the congressional redistricting process. In a concurring opinion, Judge Jordan found that the governor acted with race as a motivating factor. 

“A map that moved through the legislative process with intent to discriminate against the voters cannot stand,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida Executive Director. “We know full well the Governor exercised his legislative powers by drafting and introducing his own map, vetoing a map not to his liking, and participating in the redistricting process to an unusual extent. And we know that the Governor was acting with race as a motivating factor. We are asking the court to reconsider so that Black voters can exercise their right to fair representation in Congress.”

The plaintiffs in this motion argue that the Governor is a state actor who cannot discriminate on the basis of race when exercising his state authority, and that under the law, the Governor is specifically part of the legislative process and not a third party.

The motion to reconsider was filed jointly by plaintiffs including Common Cause Florida, FairDistricts Now, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, and voters from across the Sunshine state. The plaintiffs are represented by Patterson Belknap LLP, led by Gregory Diskant and H. Gregory Baker, and by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, led by Jeff Loperfido. 


To view the filing of the motion to reconsider, click here.