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CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

April 15, 2024

Perry, Fla. — Late Friday, a federal judge granted a request to approve a new map for the Taylor County Commission and School Board districts, amending consent decrees in twin Voting Rights Act lawsuits brought by Black community leaders in 1983. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida represents a class of all Black Taylor County residents, led by class representatives Shirley Scott, Veleta Roberson, Lessie M. Gent, Tommy B. Williams, Ernestine Mitchell, Timothy Flowers, Benjamin Flowers, and Christopher Sneed.

In recent months, the County Commission, School Board, Superintendent of Schools, and county staff worked with the ACLU of Florida and community members to develop a new redistricting map that protects Black voters’ ability to participate in democracy and ensures equal representation for all residents. Population shifts had made districts unequal in size, necessitating adjustments to comply with the “One Person, One Vote” requirement of the U.S. Constitution.

The County Commission and School Board adopted the new map in February and submitted it for court approval thereafter. The court rulings amended judgments entered in 1983, which ordered a single-member district system, including one district in which Black voters could elect a candidate of their choice. Prior to the lawsuit, no Black person had ever been elected to any office in Taylor County. The 1983 map has never been redrawn until this year.

“We’re proud that elected officials, plaintiffs, community members, and county staff came together to restore equal representation in Taylor County,” said Shirley Scott, a lead plaintiff in the litigation and former Mayor of Perry. “Forty years ago, Black residents sued to enforce the Voting Rights Act and secure fair representation. These new maps will ensure Black residents continue to have an equal voice in local government.”

“This new map restores equal rights for all Taylor County citizens, including protecting the rights of Black voters,” said Joe Dye, legal program associate with the ACLU of Florida. “We appreciate the hard work of everyone who came together to craft a solution that complies with the law and also works for Taylor – local residents, commissioners, school board members, Superintendent Beshears, County Administrator Pemberton, and their staff.

Federal District Judges Robert Hinkle’s and Mark Walker’s orders granting the motions and approving the map for the County Commission and School Board can be found here: [link].

The new map can be viewed at this link.