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Ark. lawmaker: Increase black vote in district

A redistricting panel should be ordered to redraw a state Senate district so it has a black voting age population of at least 58 percent, attorneys for a state lawmaker and a group of east Arkansas residents argued in federal court papers filed Tuesday.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A redistricting panel should be ordered to redraw a state Senate district so it has a black voting age population of at least 58 percent, attorneys for a state lawmaker and a group of east Arkansas residents argued in federal court papers filed Tuesday.

Attorneys for state Sen. Jack Crumbly and residents in his district said in a "a proposed findings of fact" that they're confident the Board of Apportionment could redraw Crumbly's district and an adjoining one in time to hold a new primary before or concurrently with the November general election. Crumbly, who is black, has accused the board of intentionally lowering the black voting age population from 55 percent to about 53 percent.

A three-judge panel Friday refused to postpone next week's primary for Crumbly's seat while they weigh the lawmaker's lawsuit. Crumbly faces state Rep. Keith Ingram in the Democratic primary for the seat. No Republican is running.

The board is made up of Gov. Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Secretary of State Mark Martin. Beebe and McDaniel, both Democrats, voted for the House and Senate redistricting maps last year. Martin, the panel's only Republican, voted against them.

Martin has been dismissed from part of the lawsuit that accuses the panel of intentional discrimination, and has argued he wanted a higher percentage of black voters in the district.

Attorneys for Beebe and McDaniel in a separate filing said the court should find that there was no violation of the U.S. Constitution or federal Voting Rights Act with the district lines.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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