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SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Arkansas

Process

State Legislative

Arkansas' state legislative districts are drawn by an Apportionment Board consisting of the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State. Predicted Republican gains have come to fruition with Republicans holding large majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly: 74R-26D in the House and 26R-9D in the Senate.

Congressional

Arkansas' congressional districts are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature has the power to override the Governor's veto with a simple majority in each chamber. Arkansas' current congressional delegation is four Republicans and no Democrats.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Arkansas law requires that state Senate districts be contiguous and keep counties whole. The Apportionment Board's website discusses other criteria like compactness and respecting communities of interest, but these are not required by law. There are no state law requirements for drawing congressional districts.

Public Input

While no public hearings are currently required under Arkansas law, the state legislative Apportionment Board held seven hearings between May and July in the 2011 cycle. Without a change in the law, it is likely for there to be a similar timeline.

Issues

Legal Challenge

In 2011, the state legislative maps were sued by a state senator who alleged vote dilution. The map lowered the black voting age population in his district from 58% to 53%. The Court found no legal issue, holding that the reduction was an unfortunate consequence, not a product of vote dilution under the Voting Rights Act nor intentional discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause.

Proposed Reform

Arkansas currently has single-party control over redistricting. A constitutional amendment could replace the current process with a commission. A proposed redistricting initiative, sponsored by Little Rock attorney David Couch and Arkansas Voters First, has recently been refiled that would establish an independent citizens' redistricting commission. Unfortunately, following a decision by the state Supreme Court, this initiative will not appear on the ballot due to issues with background checks for paid canvassers.

  • This proposed amendment would create an independent nine-member commission. Following an application period, a panel of three retired state Supreme Court or Court of Appeals judges shall select thirty applicants by majority vote, making a good faith effort to ensure geographic and demographic diversity. These applicants would fall into three pools: one for applicants affiliated the largest party in the General Assembly, one for those affiliated with the second-largest, and one for those unaffiliated with either of those parties. The Governor and four legislative leaders could then eliminate up to two applicants from each pool of applicants, potentially cutting each pool from 30 applicants to 20. After the strikes, the retired judges panel randomly selects three applicants per pool, and the process would repeat until each congressional district is represented on the commission.

  • The initiative would also prohibit partisanship in districting when considered on a statewide basis, promote competition where feasible, and protect racial and language minority groups' right to vote.

  • Lastly, the commission would have to conduct at least one public hearing per congressional district with adequate notice. It also would create a website to publish all commission work product as well as alternate and final maps.

As with a number of areas in public life, this initiative has been affected by the current public health crisis. Arkansas Voters First and its supporters have sued the Secretary of State to change the petition signature gathering requirements in Miller v. Thurston. In May 2020, the Western District of Arkansas allowed signatures to be gathered without the state's witness or notary requirements, lifting a part of the burden for getting this reform on the November ballot. This decision has been stayed on appeal in the 8th Circuit.

While awaiting the 8th Circuit's decision on appeal, Arkansas Voters First was still able to gather 100,000 signatures, which they submitted to the Secretary of State. However, the Secretary sent a letter to the initiative campaign's representative saying that none of the signatures gathered by professional canvassers could be counted because of issues regarding criminal background checks for paid canvassers. On August 5, AVF submitted an additional 50,000 signatures for verification.

Actions

In 2021, participate in public hearings on redistricting.

  • Obtain Arkansas redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.

  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Board and Legislature start collecting feedback.

  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

Congressional Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
State Boundaries: Drawn by apportionment board
Legislative Control: Republican
Governor's Political Party: Republican
Last Updated: Aug 27 2020