Those legislative district maps | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Those legislative district maps

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Gov. Mike Beebe has released his legislative redistricting maps.

Here's the Senate. Re an earlier discussion: His map has four majority black Senate districts (same as currently), smallest majority at 55 percent black based on 2010 Census.

Here's the House map. There are 11 majority black districts (where there are now 13) and two just below majority level — one at 48 and one at 49 percent black, again based on Census population, not voters. That Latino district? Not a pure and obvious majority district yet, but House District 94 has a 45 percent Hispanic population according to the 2010 Census and District 66 has a hefty 33 percent.

Percentage of minorities of voting age is smaller than population, but come 2012, some of them will be older, of course and death also will change percentages. The overall standard for redistricting is the Census population, not voting age population, but courts have held voting should be the standared in assessing voting rights for minorities in voting rights cases.

Note that Hispanic numbers can be skewed by the ability in the Census for people to call themselves "non-white" as opposed to Hispanic; or both white and Hispanic; or some other background. By this reckoning, House District 94 in Northwest Arkansas is a majority-minority district, according to the spreadsheet. A Beebe spokesman says, however, that the true majority percentage is not as high as the 60 percent indicated on the spreadsheet, more like about 52 percent. Too complicated to try to explain.

Here's the breakdown on population and racial makeup in a spreadsheet.

More detailed precinct analysis will be on the Board of Apportionment website.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's maps and Secretary of State Mark Martin's maps are to come. Martin's are irrelevant given his minority Republican status on the three-member board. So far, McDaniel's have resembled Beebe's, so I'll start with these and leave it to you to rummage through board postings for more.

Applying past voter patterns to precincts is when you get an idea of what's been done by the line drawing. It also will have a powerful influence on who runs and who doesn't.

Throw-down from chat with Republicans at lunch: Doesn't matter how Beebe draws the lines, he can't create a winnable Democratic Senate district for John Paul Wells of Paris. He's been running for a year for whatever district turns up.

Otherwise, OK. My ear plugs are in place. GOP wailing can begin.

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