September 27, 2021
While the Legislature gets ready to vote on congressional redistricting bills this week, the state’s Board of Apportionment’s staff is working toward getting the proposed legislative district maps drawn as soon as possible for public comment.
Betty Dickey, the coordinator of the Board of Apportionment and a former Arkansas Supreme Court chief justice, gave a rundown of the process to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She thinks the redrawn Senate and House maps could be approved by the board as early as mid-November.
“We don’t start meeting until October,” she said. “The three principal drafters are working on the Senate and House maps now, and we will go over them the first week in October.”
According to its website, the duty of the Board of Apportionment is to redraw 100 House and 35 Senate districts so that each meets various legal criteria, including each district being about the same size in population.
With the results from the most recent U.S. census, which showed that Arkansas has just over 3 million people, each state House seat will represent about 30,000 people and each state Senate seat will represent about 86,000 people.
The board, currently consisting of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston, redraws legislative districts every 10 years based on population changes identified by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Congressional districts are redrawn by the state Legislature, which is reviewing legislation to be considered in a session set to start later this week.
Dickey said the drafters of legislative maps will present their ideas to the Board of Apportionment staff.
“The idea is that we will meet and see where there is agreement and where there are problems and how the legal criteria fits,” she said.
Dickey said once they reach at least partial consensus on the maps, they will present them to Rutledge, Hutchinson and Thurston.
Read the full article HERE.