Redistricting Comment Period Open for AR House, Senate Maps
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Board of Apportionment (BOA) is seeking public comment after revealing its proposed state House and Senate voting-district maps last week.
Some observers say the redistricting process should be more transparent. With the new maps the BOA is considering, the state is poised to gain its first Latino majority-minority district, located in Northwest Arkansas.
Bonnie Miller, president of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, said although the board hosted some public meetings across the state to hear redistricting concerns, most of the mapmaking work was still done behind closed doors.
"The actual drawing of the maps was not transparent or open, and nothing that they did for the actual drawing of the maps was part of public record," Miller pointed out. "So while they held these meetings and listened to some different people around the state, we don't really know what they did with those comments."
In the proposed maps, no Senate incumbents will be forced to run against each other. In the House, creating a new district will result in three incumbents being drawn into the same district in eastern Arkansas.
The public comment period is open through Nov. 28. The Board of Apportionment reconvenes Nov. 29 to integrate the public feedback into the maps before final approval.
Kristin Foster, Citizens First Congress outreach coordinator with the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, said she agrees with the sentiment of the board's Redistricting Coordinator Justice Betty Dickey, who said it is impossible to create new maps that will make everyone happy.
However, Foster hopes district lines in Arkansas will one day be drawn by groups without political affiliations.
"What we'd love to see for Arkansas is redistricting put in the hands of an independent redistricting commission that is not controlled by partisan elected officials who have a vested interest in the outcome," Foster asserted. "We'd rather see this being handled by people from the community."
get more stories like this via email
A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …
Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …
As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …
If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…
North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …
Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …
After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …