On April 8, 2021, Professor Levitt was called to government service. Stay tuned for an update on the continued operation of this site.
Prof. Justin Levitt's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

In Arkansas, congressional lines are drawn by the legislature, as normal legislation.  State legislative lines are drawn by a three-member politician commission, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed a congressional plan (HB 1836) signed by the Governor on Apr. 13, 2011.  The politician commission approved state legislative plans on July 29, 2011.  Court challenges to the state Senate map were rejected.

Reform proponents attempted to qualify a 2020 initiative for the ballot, but the state refused to accept petitions from canvassers for whom background checks were “acquired” but allegedly without proof that they were “passed.”  [Miller v. Thurston III, No. 5:20-cv-05163 (W.D. Ark. Sept. 15, 2020); Miller v. Thurston II, 2020 Ark. 267 (2020)]

,

Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
  Upper House:
  Lower House:
  Governor:

Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Data

Download Data for ,

Shapefile GeoJSON PDF

Shapefile source:

The Latest Updates

Sep 15, 2020
A federal court dismissed a challenge by proponents of a redistricting initiative to the State’s refusal to accept petitions from canvassers.

Institution

Arkansas’ congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Arkansas’ state legislative lines are drawn by a three-member politician commission, in place since 1936, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. [Ark. Const. art. 8, § 1]

Original jurisdiction to challenge state legislative lines in state court is vested with the Arkansas Supreme Court. [Ark. Const. art. 8, § 5]

Timing

Arkansas state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by Mar. 1, 2022. [Ark. Code § 7-7-203(c)(2)].  The session began on Jan. 11, 2021, and is currently scheduled to end on Mar. 12, 2021.

Arkansas law purports to establish Feb. 1, 2021, as the deadline for state legislative lines, but census data is likely to arrive thereafter.  [Ark. Const. art. 8, § 4]  Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by Mar. 1, 2022. [Ark. Code § 7-7-203(c)(2)]

Arkansas law ties the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Ark. Const. art. 8, § 4]

Public input

At least for the state legislative maps, the politician commission posted public comments and hearing transcripts in the last cycle, here.  Neither the legislature nor the commission has announced any specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.

Criteria

Like all states, Arkansas must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be equally populated “as nearly as practicable.” [Ark. Const. art. 8, §§ 2, 3]

Arkansas must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

For state legislative lines, the state constitution requires that Senate districts be contiguous, and that they follow county lines except where necessary to comply with other legal requirements. [Ark. Const. art. 8, § 3Wells v. White, 274 Ark. 197 (1981)] These districts may be multimember districts. [Harvey v. Clinton, 308 Ark. 546 (1992)]

2010 cycle

The legislature passed a congressional plan (HB 1836) signed by the Governor on Apr. 13. 2011.

Arkansas’ commission approved state legislative plans on July 29, 2011.

The congressional map and the state Senate map were both challenged in federal court, but the challenges were rejected.  [Larry v. Arkansas, No. 4:18-cv-00116, 2018 WL 4858956 (E.D. Ark. Aug. 3, 2018); Jeffers v. Beebe, 895 F. Supp. 2d 920 (E.D. Ark. 2012)]

2000 cycle

The legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 552), which became law on Apr. 20, 2001, without the Governor’s signature.

Arkansas’ commission approved state legislative plans on Sept. 19, 2001.

It appears that neither plan was challenged in court.

Redistricting Cases in Arkansas

Search all Arkansas Cases >

Arkansas | Federal Trial | Process
Miller v. Thurston III
Federal court rejected challenge to rejection of signatures based on background check certification
Last Updated Sep 15, 2020
Case Number

No. 5:20-cv-05163 (W.D. Ark.)

Cycle 2020
Arkansas | State Supreme | Process
Miller v. Thurston II
State court rejected challenge to invalidation of petition signatures for ballot initiative
Last Updated Aug 27, 2020
Case Number

No. CV-20-454 (Ark. S. Ct.)

Cycle 2020
Arkansas | Federal Trial | Federal Appellate | Process
Miller v. Thurston I
Federal court rejected challenge to requirements for ballot initiatives in light of COVID-19
Last Updated Jul 23, 2020
Case Number

No. 5:20-cv-05070 (W.D. Ark.), No. 20-2095 (8th Cir.)

Cycle 2020