Arkansas redistricting testimony ends
Testimony in a federal suit challenging Arkansas' redrawn legislative districts concluded Monday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
- The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Closing arguments were made Tuesday. Then, both sides will have to wait on U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky's decision.
Why it matters: The boundaries divide voters into blocs based on population. The suit claims that Black voters would be disproportionately impacted because the new boundaries dilute their voting power.
- If the board's new map remains intact, it will impact the representation of residents in the Arkansas General Assembly for the next decade.
Yes, and: The filing period for House candidates opens Feb. 22. If the court rules the map needs to be redrawn, potential candidates may be filing in the dark without complete knowledge of the size of the districts they wish to represent.
Context: The Board of Apportionment is made up of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Secretary of State John Thurston. The group is responsible for reviewing the 100 House and 35 Senate districts following the census and modifying the map based on shifts in the populations.
Of note: The Supreme Court on Monday voted 5–4 to halt a lower court order requiring Alabama to redraw its congressional districting maps.
- The lower court had previously ruled the maps likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting Black voting power.
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