Governor Ron DeSantis’ Involvement in Florida’s Redistricting Process Faces Legal Battle Over Alleged Racial Discrimination

In a contentious legal battle over Florida’s redistricting process and election laws, the focus has shifted to Governor Ron DeSantis’ involvement. The governor inserted himself into the redistricting process by offering his own maps and vetoing the initial proposal by the Republican-dominated Legislature. The proposed maps would have preserved a Jacksonville-based district where Black voters would have remained a substantial minority.[0] DeSantis’ decision to veto the proposal was based on the argument that the district diluted Black voting power too much.[0]

The legal battle surrounding DeSantis’ involvement in the redistricting process has taken center stage. The case is currently being heard by a three-judge federal panel, where plaintiffs, including civil rights organizations and voters, are arguing that DeSantis intentionally discriminated against Black voters. They claim that he “hijacked the redistricting process” and forced the Legislature to enact a map that eliminated the 5th Congressional District, which had enjoyed Black representation for three decades.[1]

The plaintiffs argue that by “cracking” the district and dispersing Black voters across majority-white districts, DeSantis and the Legislature committed intentional racial discrimination, which violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution. The trial will determine whether the elimination of the historically Black-performing district violates the prohibition on intentional racial discrimination.[2]

In a separate but related case, opponents of a 2021 Florida elections law, which includes new restrictions on mail-in ballot drop boxes and rules concerning voter-registration groups, claimed that the law was racially discriminatory.[3] However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has recently upheld the law, stating that its measures are not racially discriminatory. This decision is seen as a victory for Governor DeSantis and Republicans in general.

The legal battles surrounding Florida’s redistricting process and election laws have been ongoing. Earlier this month, a Leon County circuit judge declared DeSantis’ redistricting maps unconstitutional, ordering the legislature to redraw them.[4] However, the state has appealed this decision, putting it on hold pending further review by Florida’s First District Court of Appeals.[1]

The federal trial that is set to begin will address the constitutionality of Florida’s congressional districts, including the contested district in North Florida.[5] The outcome of this trial will have significant implications for the redistricting process and voting rights in the state.

Critics argue that the redistricting process and the 2021 elections law are intentionally targeted at Black voters, who predominantly support Democratic candidates. They claim that these measures are designed to favor the Republican Party over the Democratic Party by suppressing the votes of Black voters.

Supporters of the redistricting process and the elections law argue that they are necessary for enhanced election security and to prevent voter fraud.[3] They believe that these measures strengthen existing voter ID laws, ban ballot harvesting, increase election transparency, and prohibit private money from administering elections.[6]

The legal battles over Florida’s redistricting process and election laws highlight the ongoing debates surrounding voting rights and racial discrimination in the United States. As the trials continue, they will shape the future of the redistricting process and voting rights in Florida and potentially have broader implications for the country as a whole.

0. “DeSantis top aide grilled over map that dismantled seat held by Black Democrat” POLITICO, 27 Sep. 2023,

1. “Democracy Alerts – Florida’s 5th Congressional District Heads to Federal Trial” Democracy Docket, 26 Sep. 2023,

2. “Federal court declines to rehear Florida elections law fight” WGCU, 21 Sep. 2023,

3. “11th Circuit rejects racism claim aimed at Florida’s 2021 election security law” The Capitolist, 22 Sep. 2023,

4. “Fla. Gov. DeSantis’ redistricting plan is being challenged in federal court” 90.3 KAZU, 26 Sep. 2023,

5. “A federal trial over Florida’s congressional map is getting underway” WUWF, 26 Sep. 2023,

6. “Court Smacks Down Dem’s Challenge To Florida Election Law” The Federalist, 22 Sep. 2023,

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