Northside Coalition, NAACP file suit over Jacksonville City Council’s redistricting plan

New redistricting map (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition and other organizations such as the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP and the Florida Northeast chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday against the Jacksonville City Council asking a judge to throw out the city council’s redistricting map.

The suit says the council map, approved by a 17-1 vote in March, is unconstitutional. The Jacksonville City Council proposed the new map for Jacksonville’s 14 districts in the fall of 2021, based on new Duval County census data.

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Ben Frazier, Northside Coalition spokesperson, says “The 2020 census revealed that the city is now virtually evenly split between white residents and people of color. By packing as many Black voters as possible into four districts, the council is attempting to erase that fact. This packing is not fair to Jacksonville’s 275,000 Black residents.”

The new districts will be used in the 2023 city elections.

“This scheme intentionally lowers the number of Black voters in the other districts, thus diminishing their ability to have an influence in the majority of the city’s council and school board contests,” Frazier said.

He also called the redistricting plan a case of “racial gerrymandering.”