Skip to main content

Updated April 12, 2022 12:39 PM ET

Florida’s Republican legislative leaders say they will forgo trying to redraw the state’s new congressional district map and instead consider one proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in a special session next week.

DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential hopeful, pushed a card seen as more beneficial to his party.

Monday’s announcement by State Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprows came two weeks after DeSantis vetoed a map that had been approved by the Legislature.

“At this time, the Legislative Redistribution staff is not drafting or producing a card to present at the special session,” the lawmakers said in a letter. “We are awaiting communication from the governor’s office with a map that he will support.”

The ACLU of Florida condemned the legislature’s decision to hand redistricting responsibilities to DeSantis, calling it “unprecedented” and “undemocratic.”

“People should choose their politicians, not the other way around,” the group said. said in a press release.

What DeSantis Wants

Florida is one of three states with more than one congressional district that has yet to finalize its new map, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The state could prove crucial in determining control of the US House.

Sign up for daily news!

Stay informed with WPR’s email newsletter.

Thanks to massive population growth, Florida secured one seat in Congress following the last US census, for a total of 28 districts.

In March, DeSantis vetoed a map approved by the Republican-led Legislature, citing “legal concerns.”

He has been outspoken about his desire to challenge two congressional districts, saying their protections for minority voters are illegal.

Following a bill signing on Tuesday, DeSantis said his office map “will have North Florida drawn in a racially neutral way. We’re not going to have a 20 mile gerrymander dividing people up based on the color of their skin. This is not how we governed in the state of Florida. ”

DeSantis acknowledged that the card ultimately chosen will be challenged in court.

Unlike state legislative maps, which require state Supreme Court approval, Florida’s congressional map only needs the governor’s signature to become law, WFSU reported.

Many state legislatures that redrew their district boundaries based on new census data have landed in state court battles over the new maps, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the Partisan challenges to gerrymandering could not be heard by federal judges.

A special session of the Florida Legislature to produce new congressional maps is scheduled for next Tuesday and will run no later than next Friday.

The dispute over the state’s district lines follows acrimony over new voting arrangements. Last month, a federal judge struck down parts of a Florida election law passed last year, saying it would suppress black voters. The state is appealing the decision.