HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - A three-judge panel is considering a challenge to a newly redrawn state Senate district in eastern Arkansas.

The trial over the redrawn boundaries for Senate District 24 began Monday with testimony from former redistricting official Joe Woodson.

Woodson says he referred to 55 percent as the "magic number" for the black voting-age population when creating a majority African-American district. But Woodson says he didn't recommend that figure to the state Board of Apportionment.

A panel of three federal judges heard testimony in the lawsuit, which claims the district's 53 percent black voting-age population is too low.

Woodson said he cited 55 percent as a rule of thumb but not a legal requirement.

Gov. Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Secretary of State Mark Martin make up the apportionment board.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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