TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A judge has ruled a congressional map drawn by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' staff and approved by the Legislature is unconstitutional because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives.
Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday he will issue a formal order Thursday or Friday to keep the maps from taking effect in November's election.
He made it clear he would rule in favor of voting rights groups challenging the maps.
As a remedy, Smith said he would use the map below created by redistricting expert Dr. Stephen Ansolabehere, who testified that the DeSantis map diminishes the ability of Black voters in CD 5 to elect a politician of their choice.
The order isn't official yet and is expected to get the judge's signature Thursday. The state is expected to appeal which would send the issue to the appellate court and trigger an automatic stay.
DeSantis' office said an appeal will be made once the ruling is signed.
“As Judge Smith implied, these complex constitutional matters of law were always going to be decided at the appellate level. We will undoubtedly be appealing his ruling and are confident the constitutional map enacted by the Florida legislature and signed into law passes legal muster. We look forward to defending it.”
WFTS Digital Staff contributed to this report