Miami/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 24, 2024
Miami Commissioners Approve New Voting Map Amid Racial Gerrymandering Legal ChallengesSource: ACLU

In a turn of events for the City of Miami, a new voting map has been stamped with approval by city commissioners, following a judge's ruling denouncing the prior map as racially gerrymandered. A lawsuit brought forward by local activist groups and the ACLU of Florida sparked a reevaluation of district lines that were said to diminish certain demographics' political voices, violating the 14th Amendment.

The new district map's approval, reported by NBC Miami, comes after a contentious legal battle and a stern rejection of the previous map by Judge K. Michael Moore. Moore's ruling, which emphasized the importance of equal protection under the law, led to the recent development as Miami commissioners convene to rectify the divisive issue. The settlement also includes paying nearly $1.6 million in attorneys' fees.

While most commissioners voted in favor of the new map, Commissioner Joe Carollo cast a dissenting vote. According to Miami Herald, Carollo defended his stance, stating, "I cannot vote for an amount to be given for something that we did not do. We did not commit racial gerrymandering." The ongoing friction became evident during the vote as Commissioner Miguel Gabela called for an end to what he labeled as a "dog-and-pony show," urging a swift conclusion to the matter at hand.

Despite the controversy, the ACLU of Florida celebrated this move towards more equitable representation. "Our clients fought for district lines that were fair to the communities that make up our multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural city," Bacardi Jackson of the ACLU Florida said to Hoodline. "The power to ensure a stronger and fairer democracy will be back in the hands of Miami voters– not politicians."

The newly-approved map is awaiting a judge's green light to take effect, with anticipation building for the next city elections scheduled for 2025. The settlement also requires a ballot question in November 2025 for the establishment of a citizens’ redistricting committee. This proposed change aims to "ban gerrymandering that favors particular candidates and incumbents," thereby overhauling the process in which future maps are drafted, as Miami Herald reported. The legal tides of Miami seem to be shifting, steering towards a standard where the people's vote reflects the diversity and integrity of its populous city.