Fed judges hear lawsuit on Ark. Senate lines

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The party-line split among Arkansas' top elected officials will take center stage this week as a panel of three federal judges considers whether the state diluted the black vote of a state Senate district when it redrew the boundaries last year.

Gov. Mike Beebe, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Secretary of State Mark Martin are expected to testify during the weeklong trial that begins Monday in Helena-West Helena.

The three comprise the Board of Apportionment that redrew boundaries for the state's legislative districts last year.

The board is being sued by a state senator and a group of residents who say the senate district boundaries dilute the black vote. Beebe and McDaniel, both Democrats, voted for the redistricting plan and Martin, a Republican, opposed it.

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