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ACLU keeps an eye out for redistricting shenanigans

The ACLU dropped a quick and casual reminder this week that Arkansas is 16.5% Black, and those Black voters must be represented fairly.

The civil liberties watchdog group sent letters to Governor Hutchinson, Secretary of State John Thurston, and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge reminding them of their duty to comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the U.S. Constitution, and to fairly reflect the power of voters of color.

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Hutchinson, Thurston and Rutledge make up the Board of Apportionment, a group to which the Arkansas state constitution delegates the redrawing of state House and Senate districts every 10 years.

“Arkansas has the 13th highest Black population in the country per the 2020 Census—which likely undercounted minority populations,” ACLU of Arkansas Legal Director Gary Sullivan said. “Black Arkansans constitute the largest minority group in the state, totaling 495,968 people or 16.5 percent of residents. Despite these demographic trends, the maps adopted in the past redistricting cycle (which are currently in use) do not properly account for Black voting strength in Arkansas. The BOA must comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as well as the Constitution when drawing new maps. We will continue to monitor the Board’s work and advocate for a fair and open legislative redistricting process that is representative and responsive to all community input.”

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Anyone else with input about redistricting for seats in the Arkansas Legislature can comment here.