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Judge Adopts Maps Proposed by Plaintiffs, Rejects City Council’s Maps That Diminished the Voices of Black Communities

Jacksonville, Fla. – Today, a federal court judge ordered fairer maps for the Jacksonville City Council and Duval County School Board. This decision ensures that the maps drawn by Jacksonville voting rights organizations and residents will be used for the next elections in March and May of 2023.

In October, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida found the Jacksonville City Council’s maps had likely racially gerrymandered the city by “packing” together Black communities. The court gave the Jacksonville City Council an opportunity to redraw the maps in a constitutional way. In response, the council drew maps that continued to unfairly diminish the voices of Black communities, leading the plaintiffs in the case to propose their own fairer alternatives.

The preliminary injunction and mandate for new, fairer maps forms part of the litigation in Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP v. City of Jacksonville — a case filed on behalf of local organizations, including the Jacksonville NAACP Branch, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the Northeast Chapter of the ACLU of Florida, Florida Rising, and 10 individual residents.

A copy of the judge’s order can be found HERE

“We’re glad that the court has sided with Jacksonville communities and ensured the fairer maps they championed will be used next cycle,” said Matletha Bennette, senior staff attorney for voting rights at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “We hope this gives everyone in Jacksonville a fairer voice to advocate for the changes they want to see.”

“The courts got it right today by rejecting the city’s harmful maps and ordering ones that finally protect the will of the people,” said Nick Warren, staff attorney for ACLU of Florida. “Today is a big win for the Jacksonville community.”

“It’s a new day for Jacksonville voters who will finally have a say in our democracy,” said Rosemary McCoy, a Jacksonville resident and plaintiff. “We’ve fought for decades for the right to vote, and now, in Jacksonville, it has been restored.”

“We are glad the court rejected the city’s unconstitutional maps and presented new maps,” said Ben Frazier, president of the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville. “Jacksonville’s Black residents deserved better and will now have equal representation in our government.”

“We’ve been waiting decades to see change for Jacksonville residents and today is that day,” said Moné Holder, senior director of advocacy & programs of Florida Rising. “The court’s decision to reject the city’s unjust maps and order a new one means Black voters in Jacksonville get fairer representation in government.”