Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityActivist call Arkansas redistricting maps racial gerrymandering; GOP disagrees | KATV
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Activist call Arkansas redistricting maps racial gerrymandering; GOP disagrees

Activist from the NAACP, Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus and Indivisible LRCA speak out against the redistricting maps. (Photo: KATV){ }
Activist from the NAACP, Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus and Indivisible LRCA speak out against the redistricting maps. (Photo: KATV)
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The Arkansas redistricting map that splits Pulaski County into three districts is set to become law Wednesday. Governor Asa Hutchinson decided not to veto or sign the bills.

“I am concerned about the impact of the redistricting plan on minority populations,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said he chose not to veto the bills, letting them go into law without his signature and enable those who wish to challenge the redistricting plan in court.

In 1990, Hutchinson was on counsel in a case joining with the NAACP in which they challenged directly the congressional redistricting map passed by the general assembly. The court, in that case, determined the map did not violate the voting rights act, but the governor said he learned a lot from that experience.

Community and elected leaders are set to rally Thursday afternoon for fair congressional maps.

Debrah Mitchell is the president of the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus and she’s one of the organizers of the rally. She has a problem with the proposed Arkansas redistricting maps.

“This is clearly racial gerrymandering. It’s a classic case and it’s also a textbook version of what we called cracking, where you dilute the minority voice,” Mitchell said. “There were other maps that did not split county cities and people up in the way that the final map that came out.”

Pulaski County, which includes the city of Little Rock, has the largest minority representation in the state. The map approved by the legislature splits Pulaski County into three Congressional Districts.

Activist Loriee Evans with Indivisible LRCAS says that carving up 14 minority-majority precincts benefits the status quo and the current Congressional Representatives, which are all white male republicans.

“Do we have women? Do we have any black representatives? Do we have any Democrats? We do have Democrats in Arkansas, about a third,” Evans said.

Evans said the bills remove 41,000 African-American Pulaski County residents from the 2nd congressional district and move them to the 1st and 4th congressional districts.

“We have never elected an African-American to Congress,” Dianne Curry, Little Rock Chapter NAACP president, said. “With this being the way, it was presented they won’t even ever be a possibility because you won’t be able to have a minority-majority.”

Sarah Jo Reynolds is the Executive Director for the Republican Party of Arkansas.

“We do share at the concern of the governor in the legislature about ensuring the minority populations are going to be granted for an equal representation in Congress,” Reynolds said.

KATV asked Reynolds if she believed the map negatively impacts minority populations in Arkansas.

“No, I know our legislature worked day in and day out tirelessly to ensure that all communities of interest were being represented,” Reynolds said. “The way Pulaski County will be split into three districts gives them even more representation than they do have right now.”

Reynolds said other states are looking into doing the same thing.

“In Oregon, which is a Democrat-run state, they’re looking at doing that in Portland and splitting it up and having more representation,” Reynolds said.

She also said that Tennessee was looking at splitting up Nashville.

Reynolds said the Arkansas Republican Party has full faith that the legislators took everything into consideration. Reynolds also said that if these maps are challenges in the judicial system, she believes they will hold up in the supreme court.

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Community and elected leaders will rally against this new redistricting map Wednesday at the Arkansas State Capitol at 5:30 p.m.

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