WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of Black Arkansas voters against the state’s new congressional map. The lawsuit alleges that the map dilutes the voting strength of Black voters by splitting them between multiple districts, effectively ensuring that Black voters in southern and central Arkansas do not have the same voting power as white voters. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) recognized that the new map split Black communities across districts and refused to sign the map into law, but the map was enacted without his signature.
The complaint outlines how Arkansas “is the only state in the country with a Black population above 10% that has never elected a Black representative to Congress.” The plaintiffs argue that the state’s congressional map has intentionally been drawn since at least the 1940s to dilute the voting strength of Black voters — a trend they allege has continued to the present day. The lawsuit focuses on how Pulaski County, home to the largest Black population in Arkansas, is divided between three of the state’s four congressional districts. The plaintiffs argue that this map “intentionally and systematically targets and cracks Black communities in Pulaski County and throughout the state, thereby diluting the votes of Black voters like Plaintiffs relative to other members of the electorate” in violation of multiple provisions of the Arkansas Constitution. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the current congressional map and order the creation of a new map that does not dilute Black voting strength across the state.