Slate has a good article based on a recording of a closed-door meeting at the American Legislative Exchange Council conference in Austin concerning gerrymandering.
ALEC is the Koch- and corporate-favored vehicle to produce cookie-cutter legislation for state lawmakers. From Slate:
Slate has obtained an exclusive audio recording of the closed-door panel called “How to Survive Redistricting,” moderated by influential Republican lawyer Cleta Mitchell. The panel’s four experts—Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation, North Carolina election lawyer Thomas Farr, former Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, and Texas state Rep. Phil King—are among the architects and defenders of some of the most notorious gerrymanders and voter suppression plans of this decade.
During the session, the legislators were advised to treat redistricting as “political adult blood sport,” trash potential evidence before it can be discovered through litigation, avoid the word gerrymander, and make deals with black and Latino legislators that guarantee them easy reelections by packing as many minority voters as possible into their districts, thereby making the rest of the map whiter and more conservative.
Panelists offered complicated technical advice, such as adding a legal provision that would allow a legislature to defend its maps in court even if the state attorney general refuses. And then there was less-technical advice, like being sure to put “sharp” legislators on redistricting committees because they’ll spend a lot of time explaining the maps in court.
I can’t tell you which Arkansans were in the how-to-gerrymander meeting. But, thanks to Documented, we know who ALEC identified as expected attendees from Arkansas. A murderers’ row of right-wingers:.
Reps. Mary Bentley, Harlan Breaux, Karilyn Brown, Jim Dotson, Charlene Fite, Brandt Smith and Austin McCollum and Sens. Bob Ballinger, Missy Irvin, Jason Rapert, and Mark Johnson. I erred originally in calling Ballinger a representative. I’d forgotten his move to the “upper” chamber. Also, I overlooked Rapert.