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League of Women Voters of Florida Has Joined Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s New Congressional Map

Diane Moore - 5/4/2022

The League of Women Voters of the United States issued a press release noting, in part, that on April 22, 2022, the League of Women Voters of Florida joined Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Equal Ground Education Fund, Florida Rising Together and several individual Florida voters in filing a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new congressional map. 

The League and the other plaintiffs argue the congressional map, insisted upon by Gov. DeSantis and approved by the state legislature, was not drawn in compliance with the governing laws surrounding redistricting in Florida presently.

  • The map violates a 2010 “Fair Districts” amendment to the Florida Constitution. Amendment 6, which was approved by 63 percent of Florida’s voters, prohibits diluting the opportunity to elect racial and language minorities to Congress. The Amendment also prohibits the diminishment of racial or language minority congressional districts regardless of the intent of the map drawers. The governor’s map violates the Fair Districts Amendment as it cuts Black districts from four to two.  
  • 2010’s Amendment 6 also prohibits gerrymandering districts to favor a political party, which is exactly what this new map does by giving a particular party an advantage in 20 of the state’s 28 congressional districts. 

The lawsuit alleges that the congressional districts in Florida’s proposed map favor one party, which is at odds with both the spirit and the letter of the Fair Districts Amendment, and that Governor DeSantis’ stated goal of a“race-neutral” map has the practical effect of eliminating at least two Black members from Florida’s congressional delegation.

Notably, the League of Women Voters of Florida was a lead plaintiff in successfully suing the Florida Legislature over its legislative and congressional boundaries at the conclusion of the 2012 redistricting process. The League finds no solace in returning to court a decade later to once again fight for fair representation and to ensure the rule of law is followed in the Sunshine State.


Read the full text of the press release.

Redistrictingis the redrawing of boundaries of electoral districts.

It’s done every 10 years following the U.S. Census. After the Census, each state’s number of Congresspeople in the U.S. House of Representatives is recalculated based on the current population.

Florida’s population was found to have grown by2.9 million residents in 2020, giving the state one additional congressional representative (from 27 to 28).
In Florida, the state legislature redraws the state’s U.S. congressional districts to reflect its number of representatives. It also redraws its state house and state senate districts.
Redistricting is often influenced by gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering is the politically motivated manipulation of district boundaries to deliberately disadvantage a group of voters based on their party affiliation or race.It’s used by the party in power to retain power, regardless of the voice of the voters.

The League of Women Voters of Florida believes congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population. In 2010,63% of Florida voters approved two constitutional amendments written by the League and our partners to help ensure fair redistricting. The amendments stipulated that Florida’s electoral districts must: equally divide the population, be drawn with partisan fairness, be drawn to provide fair representation to minorities and be compact. The amendments are widely referred to as the "Fair Districts" amendments.

In 2012, following the enactment of the Fair Districts amendments, the League and a coalition of civil rights groups filed two lawsuits in response to gerrymandering by political party operatives in Florida and won! During our litigation the state legislature spent$11 million of taxpayer dollars unsuccessfully defending its illegally drawn district maps.

In 2015, the courts approved new Congressional district boundaries drawn by the League and its partners. The fairly balanced districts directly contributed to the electoral wins of three non-white candidates in 2016.

During the current redistricting cycle, the League has already started work on ensuring the process is transparent and that districts are drawn fairly. Independently, and in conjunction with the recently formed Fair Districts Coalition, the League has mobilized Floridians to pay attention to this historically secretive process and demand legislators make map drawing open and accessible with adequate input from the public.

The League has plans to continue our work in this area by keeping citizens informed, exerting pressure on elected officials, attending public hearings and encouraging our members to involve themselves in both the state and local processes.

The League also has a constant presence in the state capitol to meet with legislators and attend legislative committee meetings. If the process is kept from the public or if maps drawn and approved are not compliant with the Fair Districts amendments, the League stands ready to pursue legal avenues once again.