The most recent House of Representatives Clerk’s Office report shows that Congressional District 5 Representative Al Lawson hasn’t cast a single vote in person this year, electing to cast all of his ballots via a proxy vote, meaning that Lawson asked a fellow member to vote on his behalf on the House floor.
Lawson is 1 of 3 federal lawmakers that have voted entirely through proxy this year, which is only permitted among House members and has been in place since May 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Joining Albio Sires (NJ) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), the trio as of April 7th cast 125 proxy votes out of a possible 125.
Three additional Florida Representatives — Charlie Crist (107), Frederica Wilson (101), and Maria Salazar (77) — featured on the list of legislators who cast the most proxy votes.
According to FiveThirtyEight statistics, Lawson has voted in accordance with President Joe Biden in 100 percent of ballots cast, and only abstained a single time last September for a bill that would extend protections to receive an abortion and health care providers ability to provide abortion services.
Lawson’s District 5 is in danger of being re-drawn as Florida’s upcoming redistricting special session approaches, where Governor Ron DeSantis is looking to dismantle Lawson’s district, as well as that of Representative Sheila Cherfilus McCormick.
Top lawmakers relinquished map drawing duties to DeSantis on Monday, granting him ultimate power over the shaping of Florida’s Congressional Districts.
“The Florida Legislature is caving to the intimidation of DeSantis and his desire to create additional Republican seats in Congress by eliminating minority-access districts,” said Lawson. “Previously, the Florida Supreme Court scolded the Florida Legislature for injecting partisan politics into the reapportionment process. Florida voters were hopeful that legislators would have learned their lesson. They did not. Again, I am not surprised, but disappointed with the Legislature’s inability to fulfill their constitutional duties as elected officials without political interference from DeSantis.”
The governor sought legal advice from the Florida Supreme Court in February as to whether his proposed redistricting plan would be valid in accordance with the Fair Districts standard.
Fair Districts amended the practice of drawing congressional district boundaries in such ways that they establish equitable practices in districts with high concentrations of minority voters. The State Supreme Court refused to administer advice to DeSantis.
DeSantis’ proposal was criticized by opponents, claiming that the governor is targeting black-held districts with an ambition to send the decision to courts.
“We have a responsibility to produce maps for our citizens that do not contain unconstitutional racial gerrymanders,” said DeSantis upon his veto of the Senate and House-approved maps. “Today, I vetoed a map that violates the U.S. Constitution, but that does not absolve the Legislature from doing its job. I appreciate the Legislature’s willingness to work with me to pass a legally compliant map this Special Session.”