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Politics / Issues

Judge Hears Arguments on New Congressional Map

Plaintiffs say newly drawn congressional districts still favor Republicans and discourage black representation in Central Florida.

But the defense argued Wednesday before a judge the new districts follow his order and asked for his approval.

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis had ruled the districts unlawfully favor Republicans and ordered the Legislature to redraw them.

David King is a Central Florida attorney for the League of Women Voters and other groups suing over the districts. He rejects the argument the new districts protect black representation.

“That is a hollow claim when what they’re really protecting is their Republican interests, and they’re constraining more African-American representation by that approach.”

King says the new map draws Democratic and black voters away from Republican Dan Webster’s district and packs them into Democrat Corrine Brown’s district.

Both districts include Central Florida.

With primary elections scheduled for next week, the judge says he’ll rule as soon as he can.

The NAACP opposes special elections.

Allison Riggs is an attorney representing the NAACP. She says a special election could affect voter turnout, especially in Brown’s district.

“Special elections are low turnout elections, and what limited academic studies exist on special elections indicate, where we’ve seen some in municipal elections, it can change the outcome and it can affect minority representation.”

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