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Florida Democratic lawmakers say new congressional map neutralizes Black voter's voices

Rep. Fentrice Driskell says the governor's map diminishes Black representation in Congress by nearly 50 percent.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The day after a protest broke out on the Florida House chamber floor, Democratic lawmakers met to discuss a new congressional map DeSantis signed into law Friday morning. 

During a press conference, Rep. Fentric Driskell says the map backed by the governor diminishes Black representation in Congress by nearly 50 percent. She also claimed DeSantis' map "clearly doesn't protect minority districts."

"The governor said that he wanted a race-neutral map, but instead, what he has is a map that neutralizes the voices of Black voters,” Driskell explained. "It is partisan, gerrymandering at its worst, it is unconstitutional at its best."

Driskell went on to explain the protest and sit-in seen during a recess of the House chamber was started to essentially call attention to the "blatant constitutional attack on Black voting rights."

“By passing these unconstitutional maps, they knowingly are rigging districts to favor Republicans and they are trying to erase opportunities for Black voters to elect representatives that will fight for all of us in Washington,” Driskell said. 

"By bulldozing himself into the redistricting process, the governor showed blatant disrespect to the voters of this state…," she added.

Rep. Dianne Hart, who was one of the lawmakers who went live from the chamber floor during Thursday's special session, says DeSantis' actions were not permissible.

“This is our turn to show the governor what he’s doing is not permissible by any of our standards and we’re just not going to stand for it,” she said during the Zoom meeting.

Sen. Darryl Rouson went on to explain how the new redistricting map is a form of retrogression, stating, "The effect of the policy of Senate Bill 2C is that it cracks the Black community of North Florida, we know this is retrogression…”

In a vote of 68 to 38, the GOP-majority Florida House gave the final signoff on a new congressional map likely to give Republicans more Florida seats.

DeSantis officially signed the bill Friday morning.

Around Tampa Bay, at least two districts will be redrawn under the map the governor signed. It will also expand District 12 and move some voters from District 13 in Pinellas County to District 14 in Hillsborough County.

This map is expected to give Republicans more Florida seats than the maps previously approved by the House and Senate during the regular legislative session.

Watch the full press conference down below:

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