The legislature has sent a congressional redistricting plan to the desk of Governor Hutchinson, who has five days to decide if he’ll sign it, veto it or allow it come law without his signature. Add Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s criticism to factors he might be considering.
The mayor issued this statement about the legislation, which divides Pulaski County into three congressional districts and the city of Little Rock into two:
I am deeply concerned about the gerrymandering along racial lines happening in our community, which was designed to dilute the voices of the residents of Little Rock. This plan sent to the Governor today for his signature separates the communities south of I-30 from the rest of the city, and those neighborhoods are predominantly Black and Hispanic. It is essential that we respect communities of interest in districting, and there is no more fundamental community of interest than a city like Little Rock. Additionally, it is illogical to split Arkansas’ capital city into two congressional districts. I am hopeful our state’s judicial system will correct this flawed attempt at redrawing the boundaries.
Likewise, it is paramount that the redrawing of Little Rock’s ward lines be done with public input and with these other guiding principles: staying true to the legal requirements for redistricting (“one person, one vote,” compact and contiguous wards, respect for communities of interest, and the relevant provisions of the Voting Rights Act); developing a process that is transparent so that all of our community feels that this important work has been done fairly; eliminating I-630 as a dividing line in our community with an eye to crossing that barrier for wards through the heart of the City; and to the greatest degree possible, avoiding wards that are overwhelmingly single-race in their composition to enhance unity in our representation process.