Redistricting lawsuit heading to federal court in April

Trial Date Set for Redistricting Lawsuit

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The fight against redistricting parts of Sarasota County will now go before a judge.

The trial date has been set for April 27th. The plaintiffs are three Newtown residents including County Commission candidate and former Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins.

Last year, County Commissioners voted to move District 1 into District 2, affecting many voters in Newtown. The plaintiffs say this move deprives voters in this area, which are mostly African American.

Last month, county attorneys filed a motion to have this lawsuit dismissed but it was rejected by the court. Now the plaintiffs are ready to move forward in what they say is a fight for representation.

“It’s just more than this community, there was a majority of Sarasota County that supported that voted for single member districts and then when we get it Sarasota Commission decides to changed on what we agreed to put forth to be the process of, to alleviate the discrimination in this case,” Atkins told ABC7. “We are excited about this case because it’s so clear from the beginning that they were blatantly disregarding the wishes of referendum, disregarded wishes of people, disregarded race of people, disregarded the city of Sarasota, they disrespected all of us.”

County commissioners say they don’t comment on active litigation.

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