‘We Draw the Lines’ tour targets voter turnout, Gov. DeSantis’ ‘unconstitutional’ congressional map
Image via Equal Ground.

Equal Ground - Photo
The tour kicks off in Sanford at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and concludes more than a month later in Jacksonville.

One week after the Primary Election, the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Ron DeSantis’ congressional map, which erased two Black-performing districts in Florida, are launching a statewide tour to mobilize minority voters in key counties.

Starting Tuesday, Equal Ground is teaming with fellow plaintiffs Florida Rising, League of Women Voters and Black Votes Matter for the ‘We Draw the Lines’ tour. The tour will include stops in six counties the new map impacts over the next month.

The tour’s kickoff event will be at the Sanford Civic Center Annex in Seminole County, followed by a stop at the Smith Center in Orlando on Sept. 7. Both events begin at 6:30 p.m.

Other stops at to-be-announced locations include Osceola County on Sept. 12, Hillsborough County from Sept. 13-14, Miami-Dade County on Sept. 15, and Jacksonville in Duval County on Oct. 6.

During the stops, the groups will speak with voters about the map and provide updates on the history of each district, its current composition and how that compares to its earlier makeup.

The groups will also use each stop to motivate potential voters to cast ballots on or before the Nov. 8 General Election and educate them about critical legal changes, including vote-by-mail strictures and voter registration deadlines.

The districts in contention including Florida’s 5th and 10th Congressional Districts — whose redrawing, critics argue, discriminated against Black voters — and Florida’s 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 26th and 27th Congressional Districts.

“It is incredibly important that we talk directly to people, residents and voters because they’re the ones being targeted and because voter data is what determines the makeup of these maps and whether districts will remain whole or move,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of Equal Ground, a Black-led civic engagement nonprofit.

“The people we’re working with are residents. They’re voters. They’re people who our state is saying aren’t participants in the process but are also the ones most deeply impacted by voter suppression laws that have been passed in this state that almost prohibit their access to the ballot box.”

Florida’s prior congressional map (left) compared to its current version. Note the erasure of Congressional District 5, among other changes. Image via Equal Ground and the Fair District Coalition.

Event attendees will also learn more about how the Florida Supreme Court in early June declined to hear arguments over the new map, allowing its changes to govern elections this year.

“We want to talk to folks about how important courts matter in this process, not just the courts that will be listening to our case but how the Supreme Court, a court of individuals who are appointed and retained each election cycle of every sixth year, plays a role in our future elections, the map-drawing process and how they allow unconstitutional maps to move forward,” Burney-Clark said.

Twelve residents, all Democrats, across seven counties signed on as voter plaintiffs to the lawsuit, which lists Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senate Committee on Reapportionment Chair Ray Rodrigues and House Redistricting Committee Chair Thomas Leek as defendants.

The lawsuit leans heavily on language in the Fair Districts amendment in the Florida Constitution. The amendment prohibits the drawing of maps that favor or disfavor a political party and protects minority communities’ right to elect candidates of their choice.

In their lawsuit, the groups argue the new congressional map “intentionally favors the Republican Party at nearly every turn” and represents “one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the country” as it violates both requirements set forth in the Fair Districts amendment.

The lawsuit still pends resolution. The groups don’t expect to see the matter settled in the near future, according to said Moné Holder, senior director of advocacy and programs for Florida Rising, a statewide voting rights and grassroots organization focused on empowering Black communities.

“We’re anticipating a longer road ahead,” she said. “As our attorneys prepare for the next steps of litigation, we’re looking at how to continue to build our cases and just hoping to keep the community aware that this redistricting is something we need to address … Black representation matters locally, in our state, across the county and the world, and any efforts to diminish Black voice and representation should not be tolerated.”

Click here for more information on the ‘We Draw the Lines’ tour dates and stops.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Charlie Crist

    August 29, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Anyone who supports mini Hitler needs Fat Cammack azz munch, carpet rub, bung smother. Yeah her bare, gargantuan azz will set you in the right direction 🍩💋😂

    Vote for Charlie!!!!

  • Tom

    August 29, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    Wah,, Wah, Wah.
    We like our gerrymandered maps only.
    We like our Judges approving our maps.
    Whiny ass babies.
    Save it.

    • Charlie Crist

      August 29, 2022 at 7:32 pm

      Wah wah wah? By God you are not old enough to be on the internet..but still old enough for Fat Cammack gnarly mop, carpet burn, nude fat smother.💋

      • Tom

        August 30, 2022 at 11:14 am

        Total suck hole. Ass wipe ciorsin, your running mate, with union sheltered a child abuser in middle school.
        It’s over, crisp must drop this candidate, cover up from his campaign.

  • PeterH

    August 29, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    Quality education is not a partisan issue…..at least it shouldn’t be.

    Why is Florida responding to the teacher shortage by lowering professional standards in the classroom? Why is Florida hiring college dropouts with two years of college to fill vacancies? Florida has about 9,000 vacant teaching positions in schools across the state, according to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Education.

    While Florida has paid lip service to increase starting salaries, the state ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to average teacher salaries, according to an April report by the National Education Association. The teaching environment here is also worsening, as DeSantis and other Republicans have made grade schools and universities the latest battle grounds in partisan culture wars. Qualified teachers are professionals and certainly don’t want to be looking over their shoulder for the next unhappy legislator or parent ready to sue for financial gain.

    • Tom

      August 30, 2022 at 11:07 am

      Retarded, peter h, I have rebutted your retread lies. Gasser corsin, fake monikers like you, no balls.
      You both are moronic.

  • James

    August 29, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    Here is what the Democrats, Charlie Crist and Val Demings stand for (on their websites.) Both opposes Voter ID, is soft on crime (supports early release, no bail, supported de-fund the police.) Crist & Demings marched with Black Lives Matter as they robbed, committed arson, beat citizens in the streets and stole whatever
    they could. Crist nor Demings said anything to condemn the violence. Both support convicts the right to vote from prison, gun control, weak on border security and opposed the wall. Both supports the new leftist class room curriculum for very young children indoctrination not education in critical race theory who is a racist, transgender, bisexuality, homosexuality, gender identity, teachers making the determination of what parents deserve to know about their children, school same sex restrooms. Both supports the green new deal, Biden’s war on oil, public funds for illegal aliens-including college, welfare for immigrants. Demings recently stated “Joe Biden is doing a great job.” Nuff said.


    • Charlie Crist

      August 30, 2022 at 12:15 am

      ^ Spam.. seen it before.

    • Tom

      August 30, 2022 at 11:11 am

      Yes James, Chameleon and Demings are a menace to society.

      Furthermore, Hernandez Matz and her Union sheltered child abuser in middle school. This is going to get very ugly.
      It’s over for Dums in Florida.

    • Tom

      August 30, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      Yes James, Chameleon and Demings are a menace to society.
      Furthermore, Hernandez Matz and Union sheltered child abuser in middle school. This is going to get very ugly.
      It’s over for Dums in Florida.

  • tom palmer

    August 30, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    If the Dems don’t vote,. they have only themselves to blame for the outcome.

  • marylou

    August 31, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    If the Florida state legislature remains Republican majority, the federal election problem for Florida –and the US– will be if SCOTUS rules in favor of the insane Independent State Legislator Theory (ISL), in the North Carolina case they have actually agreed to hear.

    ISL is being pushed by Republicans, and gives state legislatures total control of federal elections, including redistricting against voters’ wishes/amendments. The legislature will not need to comply with state laws, state courts, voter initiatives, or even the state’s own constitution. Only federal courts would be able to rule on the legislature’s federal election decisions. Crazy as it sounds, the theory would allow the Florida Legislature to over-rule the voters. Good bye democracy!

Comments are closed.


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