New state legislative maps enacted in Arkansas

Arkansas’ new state legislative districts were enacted on Dec. 29, 2021, following a constitutionally mandated month-long waiting period after the Arkansas Board of Reapportionment voted to approve the maps 3-0 on Nov. 29. The maps will take effect for Arkansas’ 2022 state legislative elections.

The three-member Board of Reapportionment is made up of Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), Sec. of State John Thurston (R), and Atty. Gen. Leslie Rutledge (R). The board initially displayed the maps on Oct. 29, beginning a public comment period.

The Associated Press’ Andrew DeMillo wrote that, under the new maps, the number of majority-Black Senate districts remains the same at four and decreased by one to 11 in the House. Additionally, the maps created a new majority-Hispanic district in the House.

After the maps went into effect on Dec. 29, the ACLU of Arkansas filed a lawsuit against the House map alleging racial gerrymandering. 

Arkansas’ Democratic Party Chairman Grant Tennille said, “This process was a missed opportunity … to have fairly drawn maps that respect voters and their communities … Instead, we have yet another example of gerrymandering and voter suppression.”

Arkansas Republican Party Chairwoman Jonelle Fulmer said, “The board’s efforts to keep communities of interest together and create the first-ever majority Latino voting age district are proof of their commitment to fair and equal representation.”

As of Jan. 3, 27 states have adopted new state legislative maps for both chambers, one state adopted a map for one chamber, one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect, and 21 states have not yet adopted state legislative maps. As of Jan. 3, 2012, 32 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,078 of 1,972 state Senate seats (54.7%) and 2,776 of 5,411 state House seats (51.3%).

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