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Redistricting education tour launches amid congressional map lawsuit

Protestors hod a sign that says, "Black Votes Matter" while watching several people standing on the stairs of a large white building.
Vaul Alexander
Equal Ground Action Fund

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new congressional map have launched a statewide tour aimed at educating Black voters about changes to U.S. House district lines.

Orlando-based voting rights group Equal Ground is helping organize the six-week tour, which began last week and runs through Oct. 6. The goal is to educate community leaders who can share what they learn with ordinary voters, explained Jasmine Burney-Clark, co-founder of Equal Ground.

“We’re not expecting a ton of folks to show up," said Burney-Clark. "We’re expecting the right people who want to take their engagement to the next level and grow a network of folks who want to build with us and learn for the long run.”

Advocates will share presentations that explain how gerrymandering works and what districts looked like before the lines were drawn and where the boundaries are under the new map.

Florida's new congressional map cuts in half the number of districts where Black voters can elect their candidate of choice. Florida League of Women Voters, Black Voters Matter and Florida Rising are also organizing the tour.

They started in Seminole County last week. They’ll end the tour in Duval County next month to reach voters in the old map's 5th Congressional District, which also includes parts of Leon County.

Here's a list of the upcoming tour stops:

Orange County - Sept. 7

Osceola County - Sept. 12

Hillsborough County - Sept. 13-14

Miami-Dade County - Sept. 15

Duval County - Oct. 6

The state's new congressional map — which Gov. Ron DeSantis' office drafted before lawmakers passed it — is facing legal challenges in state and federal court.

Plaintiffs bringing the complaint in state court argue the map violates the state constitution's Fair Districts Amendments, which bans intentional partisan gerrymandering and diminishing minority groups' ability to elect a candidate of their choice.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.