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4 Arkansas Counties to Lose Justice of the Peace Seats Over Population Loss

The Phillips County Courthouse in Helena-West Helena is shown in this April 2012 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal)

By Stephen Simpson, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

January 16, 2022

Four Arkansas counties will lose a total of eight justice of the peace positions beginning in 2023 because of a state law that bases the number of a county’s quorum court members on the county’s population.

Shelby Johnson, geographic information officer for the Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Office, said Ashley, Crittenden, Phillips and Polk counties will reduce their justice of the peace districts by two each.

“It’s going to be an interesting new decade,” Phillips County’s County Judge Clark Hall said. “Because of the drop in population, we have had to rearrange the whole Quorum Court. The nine seats remaining have been totally rearranged with new rules and margins for deviation. It has changed a lot of our districts up, and Quorum Court members have to run against each other. It’s a tragedy, but it’s the way things go.”

Arkansas law states that the number of quorum court districts per county in Arkansas is based upon population ranges. Apportionment of those districts is the responsibility of the county board of election commissioners and is based on federal decennial census information.

The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years. The most recent one took place in 2020, and the results were announced last year. Since then, U.S. House and state legislative districts have been redrawn based on how the population changed.

Read the full article HERE.

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