The Fight for Fair Redistricting Reform Continues
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Friday, the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, as members of Arkansas Voters First, filed an amicus brief in Arkansans for Healthy Eyes v. Thurston in support of having the signatures collected for redistricting reform counted.
“The coalition worked tirelessly and against all pandemic odds to collect the 150,000 signatures, and for the court to just erase all that work based on a technicality is an attempt to disenfranchise Arkansans by ignoring their request for fair redistricting practices,” said Bonnie Miller, president of Washington County League of Women Voters and chair of Arkansas Voters First. “The court must protect Arkansans’ constitutional right to petition and reconcile the spirit and intent of the state constitution by counting these signatures.”
Despite the challenges created by COVID-19, Arkansas Voters first had their ballot language approved and then certified before collecting 150,000 signatures that have been rejected by the Secretary of State John Thurston. The state claims that the signatures are not valid due to paid canvassers' background checks being described as ‘acquired’ instead of ‘passed.’ Once resolved, the ballot initiative will allow Arkansas voters to vote for or against a state constitutional amendment to have an independent redistricting commission draw district lines in future redistricting cycles.
“As a part of our People Power Fair Maps campaign, we are pushing for redistricting reform in states across the country to appear on the ballot in November ahead of the 2021 redistricting cycle,” said Celina Stewart, senior director of advocacy and litigation for the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Refusing to count the signatures collected for the ballot initiative based on such a slim technicality is a shameful form of voter suppression that will affect the 150,000 voters who rightfully expect to be heard."
A ruling in favor of Arkansans for Healthy Eyes could mean that Arkansans will have the opportunity to have fair redistricting practices.
CONTACT: LaQuita Howard | 202-843-0573 | [email protected]