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Florida judge says DeSantis’ redistricting map is unconstitutional

A Florida judge on Wednesday struck down a portion of a redistricting map drawn by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) and his staff.

Driving the news: “I am finding that the enacted map is unconstitutional under the Fair District amendment … because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representatives of their choice,” Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said.

Smith is expected to issue a formal order on Thursday or Friday to ensure that the maps are not in effect during November’s election, AP reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis’ plan dismantles the North Florida seat now held by a Black Democrat.

The new maps DeSantis called “race-neutral” make it harder for North Florida voters to elect a Black member of Congress in the 5th congressional district, where nearly half its residents are Black.

Flashback: A Democratic-aligned redistricting group joined voting rights and civil rights organizations to file a suit against Florida’s new congressional map the same day DeSantis signed it into law late last month.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and has been updated throughout.