The Kansas map proposal named Bob Dole 1 aims to make three of the states four Republican Members safer, especially freshman Rep. Kevin Yoder, by splitting parts of Topeka.
In the filing, Democrats specifically cite House districts 5, 10, 13 and 14 as in violation of the constitutional requirements. Those are districts that, under the current map, are likely to be won, respectively, by Reps. Corrine Brown (D), Daniel Webster (R), Bill Young (R) and Kathy Castor (D).
An expected point of contention is that the black voting-age population in Brown’s district goes down substantially under the Democratic plan. In the new Republican-crafted map passed into law this year, half of the voting-age population in that district is black. In the map Democrats proposed to the court, Brown’s district would have a black voting-age population of 38 percent. The Voting Rights Act prohibits diluting protected minority groups’ electoral power. Democrats will make the argument that it remains a district where black voters have “the ability to elect their candidates of choice,” according to the filing.
“Racially polarized voting does not exist to the extent it once did,” Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux told Roll Call, ticking through a list of examples.
Republicans pushed back.
“There’s rich irony in the fact that Democrats are more than willing to create maps that eliminate minority representation and disenfranchise communities that have long struggled to be represented in Congress and other political bodies,” said Brian Hughes, communications director for the Republican Party of Florida.
“Republicans have zero credibility here and are the ones rich with hypocrisy,” FDP Communications Director Brannon Jordan replied in a statement. “It is Democrats who are standing up for the people of Florida who have demanded — in overwhelming numbers — that the GOP end decades of partisan gerrymandering.”
Whatever the circuit court decides, an appeal to the state Supreme Court is certain. A final decision from the Sunshine State high court is expected by May, a month before the June filing deadline.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.