WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, March 7, a lawsuit was filed in federal court challenging Arkansas’ new congressional map. The complaint, filed on behalf of a group of Black Arkansas voters, argues that the map intentionally “cracks” Black voters across multiple congressional districts in order to dilute their voting strength in violation of the U.S. and Arkansas Constitutions and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the current map and order the creation of a new map that meets state and federal redistricting requirements. This is the first lawsuit filed against the new congressional map; a lawsuit challenging the state’s new legislative districts is currently on appeal after a district court judge dismissed it.
The complaint argues that, despite significant minority population growth over the past decade, particularly among the state’s Black populations, Republicans in the Arkansas Legislature “placed illegal and unconstitutional barriers to the legitimate and natural growth of the state’s Black population to translate to increased political influence at the federal level.” The plaintiffs specifically allege that Black voters in Pulaski County, home to Little Rock, were divided among three congressional districts rather than keeping the population in one congressional district, the 2nd Congressional District, “to discourage the incentive of the Black voters of the area to vote, and to reduce the significance of their votes.” The complaint outlines Arkansas’ past history of discrimination and highlights how it continues in the present to urge the court to take action on this map.