JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville’s decision to appeal the judge’s approved redistricting maps has the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office in limbo as it can potentially impact city elections in March.
Jacksonville City Council members decided Thursday in a private meeting to file a notice of appeal with the federal court to challenge a judge’s decision that could change the face of the city’s political landscape.
The judge on Monday decided against a map approved by the city council and instead selected a map submitted by civil rights groups that will divide up the council boundaries, opening up traditionally Black districts.
As the decision to appeal will likely result in a prolonged court battle, the supervisor of elections office is faced with a dilemma because there are preparation deadlines that need to be met before the election, and there’s still no word on exactly what boundaries will be used.
There’s a deadline next month for candidates to decide if and where they plan on running for election. Another concern is that voters need to be notified of what district they will be in and what races they will be eligible to vote for -- issues that Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan is still working through.
🔒Insider Interactive Map: See how Jacksonville’s council districts would change under new map
News4JAX spoke to Hogan who said he has yet to meet with city lawyers to determine his next move.
As of now, his office is changing election boundaries in compliance with the federal judge’s ruling.
While it was the consensus of city council members to appeal, not all of them agreed that appealing was the best move.
“I think it’s a mistake. My personal opinion is the plaintiff’s map. Whether we like it or not, the plaintiff’s map provides and advances more opportunities for the Black community to have representation in Duval County and make our city council look more like Jacksonville,” City council member Matt Carlucci said.
Thursday’s decision to appeal came two days after Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman told News4JAX that he doesn’t want the fight to linger on.
“There are so many constituents in our city, and people that are looking forward to putting themselves forward to serve. It’s unfortunate that this process is running the course that is run, and it’s taken us to this point. There are going to be many people that are in limbo,” Freeman said Thursday.
The appeal will be filed with the 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, which is based in Atlanta.