DeSantis Vetoes New Congressional Maps Approved by Florida Legislature

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
March 30, 2022 Updated: March 30, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday vetoed the state’s newly drawn congressional map and called for a special session to redraw them in April.  

The Republican governor claimed the congressional map, which was submitted by both chambers of the Legislature, violated the 14th Amendment.

“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.”

The veto puts more pressure on the Republican-dominated Legislature to approve a map and resolve any resulting lawsuits before the June 13 to 17 qualifying period for federal candidates. Florida is also creating a new 28th district because of population growth.

“In their, I guess, understandable zeal to try to comply with what they believe the Florida constitution required, they forgot to make sure what they were doing complied with the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis in early March vowed to veto the new set of congressional districting maps approved by the Florida Legislature.

“I will veto the congressional reapportionment plan currently being debated by the House. DOA,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter. 

Republicans currently have 16 congressional seats while Democrats have 11.

Earlier, the governor proposed a congressional map that would create 20 Republican districts and eight Democratic districts. The latest congressional map submitted by both chambers of the Legislature would have created 18 Republican districts and 10 Democratic districts.

The Senate had approved a map in January that would retain the GOP’s 16 congressional seats. However, DeSantis asked the state Supreme Court to determine whether black Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Fla.) district, which combines the two black neighborhoods of Jacksonville and Tallahassee, was constitutional. After the court declined DeSantis’s request, the governor made it clear that he would veto any map that retained Lawson’s seat.

DeSantis has said he won’t sign a congressional map that includes an “unconstitutional gerrymander.” Gerrymandering involves manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency to favor a specific class or party. Ryan Newman, DeSantis’ attorney, has called Lawson’s congressional district an “illegal gerrymander.”

A Special Session of the Florida Legislature is now set to convene from April 19 to April 22 to draft a new map.

The Epoch Times has contacted DeSantis’ office for additional comment.

Naveen Athrappully and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.