LITTLE ROCK -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today cautioned that new legislative maps released by the Arkansas Board of Apportionment (BOA) may not fairly represent all Arkansans, and again urged the Board to make its review process more accessible and transparent to the public.
"Too often and in too many places, many politicians have abused the districting process to manipulate the outcome of elections. Last week we issued a letter asking the Arkansas Board of Apportionment to draw new districts fairly,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “We must demand maps that are representative of all Arkansans, not ones that dilute the political power of Arkansas’ minority populations--and violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We urge all Arkansans to review the maps for impact on their community and make their voices heard during this important process.”
ACLU attorneys and NAACP partners will analyze the new maps to ensure they do not carve up communities and significantly underrepresent populations that are traditionally ignored. Currently, Black residents comprise 16.5 percent of the state’s population.
“All people should have the opportunity to be equally represented -- this should be a non-partisan issue. Representative maps are fundamental to ensure that every vote counts, and serve as the foundation of systemic equality for Black and Brown residents,” said Dianne Curry, Little Rock NAACP president. “Communities of color have long faced obstacles to meaningful participation in the political process, including the redistricting process. "
“When voters of color are equally empowered and fairly represented, their concerns are more likely to be heard and addressed,” said Frank Shaw, NAACP State Conference president. “Unfair maps can result in unequal representation in voting districts, the dilution of the full voting power of minority voters, and fractured communities.”
The ACLU and NAACP will continue to analyze the newly-drawn maps according to criteria from the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act of 1965. They encourage all Arkansans to use their voice and add comments between now and Nov. 29.