Judge Adopts Map Proposed by Plaintiffs, Rejects City Council’s Maps That Diminished the Voices of Black Communities
Jacksonville, FL - On Monday, a federal court ordered fairer maps for the Jacksonville City Council and Duval County School Board. This decision ensures that a map drawn by Jacksonville voting rights organizations and residents will be used for the next elections in March and May of 2023.
In October, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found the Jacksonville City Council’s maps had likely racially gerrymandered the city by “packing” together Black communities. The court gave the Jacksonville City Council an opportunity to redraw the maps in a constitutional way. In response, the council drew maps that continued to unfairly diminish the voices of Black communities. The plaintiffs in the case proposed their own fairer alternatives.
The preliminary injunction and mandate for new, fairer maps forms part of the litigation in Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP v. City of Jacksonville — a case filed on behalf of local organizations, including the Jacksonville NAACP Branch, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the Northeast Chapter of the ACLU of Florida, Florida Rising, and 10 individual residents. The litigation was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida , and the Harvard Election Law Clinic.
A copy of the Judge’s order can be found below.
“We’re glad that the court has sided with Jacksonville communities and ensured the fairer maps they championed will be used next cycle,” said Matletha Bennette, senior staff attorney for voting rights at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We hope this gives everyone in Jacksonville a fairer voice to advocate for the changes they want to see.”
“The court got it right today by rejecting the city’s harmful maps and ordering ones that finally protect the will of the people,” said Nick Warren, staff attorney for the ACLU of Florida. “Today is a big win for the Jacksonville community.”
“It’s a new day for Jacksonville voters who will finally have a say in our democracy,” said Rosemary McCoy, a Jacksonville resident and plaintiff. “We’ve fought for decades for the right to vote, and now, voting power is in our hands."
“We are happy the court affirmed our right to fair representation by adopting the plaintiffs’ map and rejecting the council's map," said Ben Frazier, president of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville. "This is a huge victory for voting rights in Jacksonville. This ruling will ensure Black residents have a fair voice in city government."
“We’ve been waiting decades to see change for Jacksonville residents and today is that day,” said Moné Holder, senior director of advocacy & programs of Florida Rising. “The court’s decision to reject the city’s unjust maps and order a new one means Black voters in Jacksonville get fairer representation in government.”