MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Civil rights groups and some local political leaders, including Broward Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott, are calling on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to hold a timely special election for Southeast Florida’s Congressional District 20 to replace Congressman Alcee Hastings, who recently passed.

Gov. DeSantis announced on May 4, a primary election would take place on Nov. 2 and a general election on Jan. 11.

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However, critics say they would like those dates moved up because residents of the South Florida district will go more than nine months without representation — far longer than normal.

The groups, which include Florida Rising, 1199 SEIU Florida, Every Voter Counts, and Ron Be Gone, want the primary to be August 31 and the general election on Nov. 2 to ensure Floridians have representation at every level.

Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones:

“Nine months without representation is a lifetime when you talk about what our community needs and the fact that the Governor plays political football on the backs of the most marginalized is unfortunate,” said Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones during Friday’s news conference at the Broward Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill.

Joe Scott, Broward Supervisor of Elections said in a statement:

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“Since the once in a decade redistricting will happen in 2022, it is more important than ever for these representatives to be in place before the legislative session starts.”

Jasmen Rogers, CD 20 Resident, Community Activist and Ron Be Gone Florida Leader:

“The right to access your elected officials and have ongoing representation is critical for Black people in Broward. We have to work diligently to ensure efficient and timely elections.”

Andrea Mercado, Florida Rising Co-Executive Director:

“The people of the 20th district and surrounding constituencies deserve to choose a representative as soon as possible to have their voices heard in Washington, where Congressman Hastings worked so hard to advocate for the people of Broward and Palm Beach counties. We have fought for our right to voter freedom throughout every iteration of these bigoted attacks, and we will not stop now. Together we will send a message to Gov. DeSantis and the entire nation, our voices will not be silenced.”

Numerous candidates have announced plans to run in the Democratic stronghold in Broward and Palm Beach counties, including state Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale; state House Minority Co-leader Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale; state Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach; former state Rep. Priscilla Taylor, D-West Palm Beach; and Broward County commissioners Barbara Sharief and Dale Holness.

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Hastings died April 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 84. Hastings’ 1992 election was a landmark event as he and two other Black Democrats — Corrine Brown and Carrie Meek — were elected to Congress.

CBSMiami.com Team