More About the Board of Apportionment
In 1936, Amendment 23 to the Arkansas Constitution created the Board of Apportionment. It is comprised of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. For three decades, the Board created one hundred state representative districts by “apportioning” one State Representative to each county and distributing the remaining twenty-five state representative districts to the more populated counties. Similarly, the Board apportioned state senatorial districts consisting of one or more undivided counties. Beginning with the United States Supreme Court “Reapportionment Cases” in 1964, the courts ruled that the “one-person, one-vote” was the law of the land, and both State House and Senate districts, respectively, must be based on substantially equal populations.
Article 8 of the Arkansas Constitution requires the Board to re-draw only the district boundary lines for the Arkansas House and Senate. The Arkansas General Assembly redistricts the United States Representative Districts. The state’s two United States Senators are elected at large so no redistricting is required.
The 2020 federal decennial census is expected to be released by September 30, 2021. It will show that over the past ten years some areas of the state have declined in population density while others have increased. Legislative districts that have gained population density will likely shrink their geographic boundaries while those that declined in population density will likely expand their geographic boundaries. Some new districts may be created while all or part of an existing district may be absorbed into an adjoining district. The Board’s final redistricting maps will become effective thirty days after filing with the Secretary of State.