Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoes new Florida congressional map, calls for special session

Dispute surrounds District 5 in north Florida
Florida Capitol building
Posted at 3:05 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 18:14:27-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis received a passed bill related to the redistricting of Florida's Congressional maps but quickly vetoed it Tuesday, asking lawmakers to return to Tallahassee next month to address the issue.

Florida lawmakers had recently passed CS/SB 102 related to establishing the Congressional districts in Florida.

The Legislature and governor are obligated every 10 years to redraw the state's districts so they are consistent with the most recent census.

In a memo released by the governor's office Tuesday, DeSantis said that Congressional District 5, in both the primary and secondary maps enacted by the Legislature, violated the Equal Protection Clause.

DeSantis and his counsel believe the proposed district assigned voters primarily on the basis of race, "but is not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling state interest."

READ BELOW: Memorandum citing legal concerns, prompting veto

His counsel's memo stated that District 5, which is located in north Florida, was drawn by lawmakers to "maximize the black voting age population," which also impacted the shape of nearby District 4.

"We have a responsibility to produce maps for our citizens that do not contain unconstitutional racial gerrymanders," DeSantis said in a statement. "Today, I vetoed a map that violates the U.S. Constitution, but that does not absolve the Legislature from doing its job. I appreciate the Legislature's willingness to work with me to pass a legally compliant map this Special Session."

The special session is scheduled to begin April 19 and last until no later than the end of the day on April 22.

Florida gained an additional seat in Congress based on population growth since the 2010 Census.

Some state lawmakers aren't happy about the special session, tweeting their displeasure with the governor’s veto and alleging he's trying to diminish the strength of Black voters.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., who currently serves District 5, spoke out against the veto.

"In January, DeSantis made it clear that his ultimate objective was to cut the number of African Americans and Hispanic Americans serving in Congress, so today’s veto is no surprise," Lawson said in a statement.