An Orlando-based Black political advocacy group is launching a new digital campaign to get voters to demand the Legislature protect minority access congressional districts in the upcoming Special Session.
Equal Ground Action Fund will target 2.5 million Floridians with a new digital campaign entitled “We Draw The Lines.” The group wants to convince lawmakers to not eliminate districts previously mapped out as minority access districts.
On Nov. 29, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the Legislature’s congressional redistricting map, and his concerns about minority access districts such as CD 5 were among his objections.
The Legislature must try again. A Special Session has been called to start April 19.
Equal Ground’s digital ads charge that the Governor is attempting to “diminish minority representation in Congress,” particularly for the electorates now represented in CD 5, which stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, and in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, based in Orlando.
The ads link to a petition page where people can send letters to their lawmakers on behalf of Equal Ground.
“Please follow the law and reject Gov. DeSantis’ blatant attempt to maintain political power at the expense of Black Floridians’ voting rights,” the letter urges.
In addition to the letter campaign, Equal Ground intends to promote rallies and news conferences during the Special Session. Equal Ground is a member of the umbrella group Fair Districts Coalition, an association of organizations opposing political gerrymandering.
“We didn’t expect an easy redistricting process, but what we are seeing is a breathtaking and unprecedented attack on democracy,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of Equal Ground. “Despite the rhetoric, Gov. DeSantis’ maneuver will make it harder for communities of color to elect candidates of choice. Unfortunately, DeSantis is working to reduce the number of African American and Hispanic legislators in Congress and doing so over the objections of the majority of Floridians.”
DeSantis’ Office has charged that minority access districts are examples of gerrymandering.
A memo drafted by Ryan Newman, General Counsel to the Governor, repeated many of the legal issues the Governor has made against construction of a Black minority seat in North Florida. Newman stated neither map approved by the Florida Legislature would comply with the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection clause.