Federal lawsuit: Arkansas voting system dilutes black rights

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A federal lawsuit alleges the voting system for some Arkansas judges violates black residents’ rights by diluting the strength of the vote.

Lawyers for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit Monday. It says that because the state’s seven Supreme Court judges are elected statewide instead of by district, the white voting bloc overpowers the votes of black Arkansas residents. The suit says that’s why no black judge has ever been elected to the court.

It also alleges that voting by districts for the state’s 12 appellate judges lumps all black voters into a single electoral district, reducing the strength of the population’s vote.

A spokeswoman says state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reviewing the complaint.

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