New Congressional Maps Fail Legal Test: Drawn Based On Manipulating Racial Lines

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Legislature has sent new congressional district maps to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk that will certainly face swift legal action. The maps dissect Pulaski County into three different congressional districts based on the manipulation of boundaries along clear racial lines.

State Sen. Joyce Elliott (Little Rock) 

“Let’s state the obvious. The way these maps were drawn, by manipulating and abusing communities based on racial demographics, was a choice. 36 redistricting maps were submitted, 11 didn’t split any counties and met all legal criteria for redistricting. We should acknowledge why this was done this way.”

State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (Little Rock)

“The people I represent feel that this is a hellish map. It is prejudiced, it is hyper-partisan, and it is petty,” Chesterfield said on the Senate floor. 

State Sen. Clarke Tucker (Little Rock)

“We are slicing and dicing the minority population in Pulaski County into three different districts. Projects to improve infrastructure, economic development, and quality of life will be harder to accomplish as these communities have their voices diluted and drowned out by being placed into districts with heavily white and rural populations.”

Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus Chair, State Rep. Monte Hodges (Blytheville)

“There are people who don’t want to see this for what it is. But I see race, and I see racism, because I see reality. And I see Republicans drawing districts explicitly to weaken minority representation. Any partisan advantage gained by this map is worth little compared to the negative effects this will have on the Black and Latino communities of Pulaski County.”

House Minority Leader Tippi McCullough (Little Rock)

“As lawmakers, we ought to listen to people who live in the communities our bills affect. Not once did the Republican members attempt to involve the very communities they are splitting up. This is plain wrong.”

Nicole Hart, Democratic Party of Arkansas Vice Chair

“Our Democratic Caucuses repeatedly stood up to defend the voices in Pulaski County and across the state that will be negatively impacted by these maps, and that includes a lot of people that look like me. I’m proud that this is the party that stands up for our voting rights.”

Grant Tennille, Democratic Party of Arkansas Chair

“This failed effort is widely expected to be dealt with swiftly in the courts. It’s a blatant power grab predicated on racial division. Ironically, I believe this will end up hurting the Republican legislators in Pulaski County who voted to divide and weaken their own communities.”

View the new maps here.