Advertisement

Governor approves state of Arkansas’ redistricting map

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Arkansas Legislature gave final approval to a redrawn map of the state’s four U.S. congressional districts. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson approved it.

The four new congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years in alignment with the census. The most notable move is Boone County. It moves from the 3rd congressional district to the 1st. The realignment also splits Pulaski County amongst three different districts.

Some believe the newly drawn lines are an effort to suppress minority voter influence, such as Rep. Megan Godfrey, a Democrat from Springdale. She announced she would not rerun in 2022 after disapproval of the redistricting.

”It needs to be done because populations do change so much over 10 years,” said Crystal Graddy, the Boone County Clerk. “We’ve seen such an influx in population from southern Arkansas to northern Arkansas. Where in the south, its population has dwindled which makes it harder for them to run county government.”

With Boone County moving to the 1st congressional district, several constituents are aware it was outside their power.

”What really made some of the drastic changes is the growth in northwest Arkansas,” said Rep. Ron McNair, a Boone County Republican. “I didn’t really like it, but that’s just the way the numbers panned out.“

”A lot of people really fought that change because we’re going to be so spread out. It will be hard for us to have much say in that district,” said Graddy.

This means Boone County will now be represented by Rick Crawford as opposed to Steve Womack, who is heavily involved with an office in Harrison.

”The only problem I see with that, the first congressional district goes from Boone County all the way to Louisiana,” McNair explained. “I don’t care who the representative is, it’s hard to cover that much geography.”

Opinions vary how that could affect voting.

”Whether you diminish minority voting strength and you have particular harm to that population in the second district to me that is the fundamental questions the courts will have to evaluate,” said Gov. Hutchinson in a recent press conference.

”All the people in your government have to have an equal say otherwise one side is going to have too much say in how things are done,” said Graddy.

”It’s more so about the representation they’re concerned, so I don’t know if they’re going to vote much differently,” said McNair.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson hinted legal challenges to the maps wouldn’t come as a big surprise to him. He acknowledged redistricting is “not a perfect process.”

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.