The lawsuit is the first in the state to enforce HB 411, which prohibits redistricting to favor candidates based on their addresses
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida filed a lawsuit on behalf of five city residents challenging the Daytona Beach City Commission’s newly redrawn redistricting map.
The lawsuit, filed in a state circuit court in Volusia County, alleges that the Commission’s mapmaking was driven by the desire to protect incumbents and keep each of their residences in their districts, in violation of state law. Centering commissioners’ home addresses above all else caused the commission to split traditional communities of interest, including the Beachside neighborhood and the Embry-Riddle and Bethune-Cookman campuses.
This is the first lawsuit in the state filed to enforce HB 411, enacted last year, which prohibits local governments from redistricting with the intent to favor or disfavor candidates or incumbents based on their residential addresses.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the City Commission failed to properly notice its proposed map before passing it, in violation of Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law. Instead, the Commission’s meeting agendas publicized a different draft map that was not considered.
“The Daytona Beach Commission put politicians’ personal interests above the public good, plain and simple,” said Nicholas Warren, staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida. “Slicing up neighborhoods to gerrymander an incumbent advantage is illegal. The Commission must be held accountable.”
“Voters should choose the politicians, not the other way around,” said Nicholas Sakhnovsky, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We’re going to court because Daytona Beach residents deserve fair maps that serve their communities, not chop them up for political gain.”
The complaint in Sakhnovsky, et al. v. City of Daytona Beach can be found here.