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ACLU appeals federal ruling on Arkansas's newly drawn redistricting map

Two groups say the new Arkansas House map denies Black people in the state 'equal opportunity' in the voting process and are appealing a federal ruling.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — (Eds Note: The attached video is a report from Dec. 2021.)

The American Civil Liberties Union are appealing a federal court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Arkansas's newly drawn House district.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky on Tuesday dismissed the case after the Justice Department said it wouldn't join the lawsuit.

The judge gave the DOJ five days to intervene.

The ruling is being challenged on behalf of the Arkansas State Conference NAACP and the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, who say the new map "denies Black Arkansans" equal opportunities to elect candidates of their choice.

Judge Rudofsky ruled on February 17 that only the U.S. attorney general could bring a lawsuit to protect voting rights under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and not private parties.

“The court held that no one but the federal government can now sue for violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. No court has ever held that private individuals may not enforce their rights under the VRA," said Holly Dickson with the ACLU of Arkansas. "We will keep fighting alongside our clients to make sure that voting rights of Black Arkansans are protected.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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