Arkansas’ congressional map goes into effect

Arkansas enacted new congressional districts on Jan. 14 after the statutes establishing the map went into effect without Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) signature. Arkansas was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Arkansas’ 2022 congressional elections.

The Republican-controlled Arkansas General Assembly approved the map on Oct. 6, 2021, voting in favor of two separate yet identical bills and sending them to Hutchinson for approval. On Oct. 13, Hutchinson announced he would not sign the map into law, questioning the division of specific counties. Instead, Hutchinson let them go into effect without his signature. On Nov. 4, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) released a legal opinion establishing Jan. 14 as the map’s effective date.

Under the new map, two of the state’s counties will be split between multiple congressional districts: Sebastian County, which is split in two, and Pulaski County—the state’s most populous—split between three districts.

Opponents of the map said the division of Pulaski County, where less than 50% of the population identifies as white alone, was conducted along partisan and racial lines. Little Rock NAACP Chapter President Dianne Curry (D) said, “This is an embarrassment to the state of Arkansas to know in the 21st century we’re dealing with blatant discrimination.”

Supporters of the map said the county’s size and location in the center of the state necessitated its split so as to lower the total number of counties being split elsewhere. Arkansas GOP Chairwoman Jonelle Fulmer (R) said, “The new congressional districts are compact and keep community interests together. These lines are largely consistent with the existing lines, which were drawn by Democrats in 2010.” 

As of Jan. 14, 25 states have adopted new congressional maps, one has approved boundaries that have not yet taken effect, six were apportioned one congressional district, and 18 states have not yet adopted new congressional maps. As of Jan. 14 in 2011, 31 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 274 of the 435 seats (63.0%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Redistricting in Arkansas after the 2020 census

Additional reading: