The Legal Requirement to Redistrict

Redistricting is the process of redrawing a state’s congressional district boundaries and state legislative district boundaries. It is an essential component of ensuring that every voter is equally represented. According to federal law, districts must have populations as close to equal as possible, and may not be drawn to allow for discrimination based on race or ethnicity.

Redistricting for the United States House of Representatives is required by the United States Constitution, Article I, § 2. Congress is given authority to pass laws regulating elections, and has provided that the 435 seats in the House should be reapportioned every ten years after the decennial census. The Arkansas General Assembly redraws the districts for the state’s congressional seats.

Article 8 of the Arkansas Constitution requires redrawing the boundaries of the state’s 35 Senate districts and 100 House of Representatives districts following each federal decennial census. This redistricting is performed by the Arkansas Board of Apportionment, also created by Article 8 of the state constitution, which is composed of the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General.

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