Arkansas Redistricting News

 The Commercial Appeal: "NAACP suit challenges Ark. redistricting plan." May 24, 2002
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "Board Still at Odds Over Redistricting." September 25, 2001
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "Black Groups at Odds on Redistricting." September 23, 2001
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "Huckabee Proposals Delay Districting Vote." September 20, 2001
 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "LR Senator Cries Foul Over Redistricting." September 6, 2001
 
 Jenner & Block: "Census figures expected soon." February 26, 2001

The Commercial Appeal
NAACP suit challenges Ark. redistricting plan
By James Jefferson
May 24, 2002

Two top officers of the state NAACP chapter filed a federal lawsuit Thursday alleging that Arkansas's new redistricting plan dilutes black voting strength.

The suit asks a judge to void the results of Tuesday's primary and bar the state from holding future elections under the plan adopted in September.

Secretary of State Sharon Priest, one of three members of the state Board of Apportionment that approved redistricting, said the plan was "totally defensible." She said she doubted that a judge would void the primary results.

The apportionment board is composed of Priest, Gov. Mike Huckabee and Atty. Gen. Mark Pryor. The secretary of state and attorney general voted for the plan. Huckabee voted against it.

The lawsuit filed by Dale Charles of Little Rock and Jimmie Wilson of Lake View contends that legislative districts drawn after the 2000 Census violated the federal Voting Rights Act and equal protection provisions in the 14th Amendment.

Charles is president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and Wilson is the vice president.

"Instead of guaranteeing the right of full participation in the electoral process," the suit says, the plan "guarantees a reversal of opportunities for African-American persons to elect persons of their choice from their various communities throughout the state."

It accuses the board of contouring districts to the requests of white legislators and white potential candidates, and of adhering to the requests of white officials to exclude their areas from black-majority districts.

The plan actually could cause black citizens to lose ground in the legislature, the suit says.

Black people in eastern Arkansas challenged the 1981 redistricting plan on voting rights grounds and won. Federal courts ordered district boundaries redrawn to create black voting majorities in areas where the court determined the state had deliberately diluted the black vote.

As a result, the state created three black-majority Senate districts and 11 House districts with black majorities.

The 2001 plan added one majority-black Senate seat and two House seats. The board rejected an NAACP plan that would have added two black-majority Senate seats and four House seats.

At the time, Charles said the group would consider challenging the plan under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Huckabee noted Thursday that he also questioned the plan adopted.

"I voted against the reapportionment plan for some of the very reasons mentioned in the lawsuit," the governor said. "I supported a plan closer to what the NAACP preferred. That plan would have made it more likely for minorities to be elected to the legislature."

Huckabee proposed a separate plan with five black-majority Senate districts and 15 House districts.

Arkansas is 15.7 percent black.

The suit says census data indicate that the new redistricting plan should have increased the number of black-majority districts to six in the Senate and 17 in the House.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Board Still at Odds Over Redistricting

By Seth Blomeley

September 25, 2001

The redistricting point person for Attorney General Mark Pryor said Monday that Gov. Mike Huckabee's legislative redistricting plan amounts to a "gerrymandered" map.

Assistant Attorney General Larry Crane said that to create another black Senate district, Huckabee's plan has split Forrest City among three districts and also splits Osceola and Blytheville.

Jim Harris, a spokesman for the governor, differed, saying the governor listened to people across the state when drawing his proposed map. "The governor's plan divides districts fairly and gives minorities fair representation," he said.

The state Board of Apportionment -- made up of Huckabee, a Republican, and Pryor and Secretary of State Sharon Priest, both Democrats -- will meet Wednesday to vote on what could be the final map for 100 House seats and 35 Senate seats based on the 2000 U.S. Census. If more changes are needed, another meeting may be required, Crane said.

Huckabee's additional majority black Senate district, proposed District 15, would contain sections of Mississippi County that hug the Mississippi River and parts of Crittenden, St. Francis and Cross counties.

The second majority black district on Huckabee's plan, District 16, would contain the southern part of Crittenden County and would follow the Mississippi River for almost 200 miles to eastern Ashley County, which borders Louisiana.

The board staff's District 16 would be less than 75 miles from north to south, containing parts of Crittenden, St. Francis, Lee and Phillips counties.

About 15.5 percent of Arkansas' 2.67 million people are black. Tim Humphries, Priest's point person for redistricting, said drawing majority black districts is difficult because blacks don't all live in the same place. He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the black population can't be the driving force when creating districts if to reach that goal voting precincts and communities with similar interests have to be split.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has threatened to sue the state if the board doesn't increase the number of majority black districts. The board's staff has recommended four majority black Senate districts and 13 majority black House districts. The NAACP wants six majority black Senate districts and 17 majority black House districts. Huckabee wants to split the difference.

Others complaining about the Huckabee plan include state Rep. Dean Elliott, R-Maumelle, who wants to run for the state Senate. He said Huckabee's plan would pair him with incumbent Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway. Elliott clashed with the governor recently on the tobacco settlement spending plan. The board's staff recommendation would place Elliott in an open Senate district that includes Maumelle and parts of North Little Rock.

"When did Dean announce he is running for the Senate?" Harris said. "He is a House member. His district in the House is largely undisturbed by the governor's plan. When did creating districts on the basis of what people might want to do in the future become a goal of this process?"

State Rep. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said Huckabee's plan to add more majority black districts would isolate the black vote and make it easier to elect Republicans in other districts. Harris disputed this.

The board was set to vote on a map last Wednesday when Huckabee asked for numerous changes without having a map showing the statewide effects of his local alterations. Pryor and Priest said they wouldn't vote to accept those changes until Huckabee and the board's staff produced such a map. The board finished the map on Monday.

Since the meeting last week, the board's staff made a change to satisfy state Rep. Jerry Taylor, D-Pine Bluff. Taylor, who is white, didn't want to be in a district with state Rep. Booker Clemons, D-Pine Bluff, who is black.

Staff for Priest, Pryor and Huckabee all agreed to accommodate Taylor by extending into Taylor's Pine Bluff neighborhood a section of a proposed district that mostly includes chunks of Cleveland, Lincoln and Drew counties.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Black Groups at Odds on Redistricting

By Seth Blomeley

September 23, 2001

 

The NAACP wants more majority black state House and Senate districts in Arkansas, but the chairman of the legislative Black Caucus isn't sold on the idea.

State Rep. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, said more districts with black majorities could hurt blacks in the long run. He said black legislators in Georgia and Mississippi have actually lost clout in those states. Their numbers may have grown, but by isolating the black vote, more Republican districts also are created. This means less strength for the Democratic Party in the lawmaking process.

"We're certainly supportive of more majority-minority districts," Steele said Friday. "However, all the members of the Legislative Black Caucus are obviously African-American, but we're also Democrats, and that has to be a concern with us."

The state Board of Apportionment has scheduled a vote on Wednesday for deciding the new boundaries of the 100 House and 35 Senate districts based on numbers from the 2000 Census. A vote was expected last week, but the board delayed it to study last-minute changes suggested by Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Responding to Steele, Dale Charles, a president of the Little Rock branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said his organization isn't worried about helping or hurting either the Republican or Democratic parties in redistricting.

"We are not concerned about parties," Charles said. "We're concerned about the maximum representation of communities based on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Certainly a lawsuit would be forthcoming depending on what the Board of Apportionment does."

The board's staff has recommended to the board a plan for 13 majority black House districts and four majority black Senate districts. The NAACP has countered with a proposal for 17 majority black House districts and six majority black Senate districts. Blacks make up about 15.5 percent of the 2.67 million people in Arkansas.

Also attending the board meeting last week was John Walker of Little Rock, the lead attorney for black students in the ongoing federal lawsuit over desegregation of the Little Rock School District. Walker wasn't in his office Friday and was unavailable for comment. Charles said he and Walker aren't working together on redistricting.

Both the 1981 and the 1991 redistricting plans were challenged on grounds of racial discrimination, said Tim Humphries, redistricting point person for Secretary of State Sharon Priest.

Humphries said M.C. Jeffers of Forrest City and others sued the state in 1989 on the 1981 redistricting map, which included about five majority black House district and one such Senate district. In Jeffers v. Clinton, the U.S. District Court in Little Rock ruled the state's map violated the federal Voting Rights Act. The court ordered majority black House districts to increase to 13 and majority black Senate districts to increase to three for the 1990 election.

During redistricting after the 1990 Census, the Board of Apportionment decided to keep that same number of majority black districts. The same plaintiffs again challenged the state map, seeking additional majority black districts. But a three-judge panel -- made up of U.S District Judges Richard Arnold, George Howard Jr. and G. Thomas Eisele -- ruled that the state's changes were sufficient.

At the board meeting last week Huckabee asked for a compromise on the current NAACP proposal. He seeks 15 majority black House districts and five majority black Senate districts. But the Republican governor didn't have a detailed plan on how that request, as well as numerous other changes he wanted, would affect the statewide redistricting map. The other two members of the board, Democrats Priest and Attorney General Mark Pryor, declined to vote on Huckabee's request until he produced a detailed statewide map.

Larry Crane, Pryor's redistricting point person, said the board is facing the same dilemma with the NAACP plan. The organization's proposed maps highlight only the majority black districts without showing their effect on other parts of the state.

"[Changes to the map] ripple all the way across the state," Crane said. "To come in and say, 'I'd like to see this in isolation' .... Well, there's a thousand things that look good in isolation but consideration of those things with everything else is how we got to [the final draft]."

Crane likened one proposed NAACP Senate district to a "squashed bug." Its eastern half would contain a portion of Nevada County, half of Ouachita County with two long segments that reach into Columbia County and Union County. The district's eastern half would connect to its western half by only a sliver in northern Lafayette County. The western half contains parts of Miller, Hempstead and Howard counties.

Charles said "the other districts can be drawn around" the NAACP plan, which was put together by the group's national attorneys and former state Rep. Jimmie Wilson, D-Lexa.

Sylvester Smith of Camden, son of former 4th District congressional candidate Judy Smith, told the board last week that there's a movement by blacks to retaliate against the Democratic Party if the board does not approve more majority black districts. "If we can't get more black elected officials then we've been wasting our vote," Smith said.

But Pryor and Priest said they've resigned themselves to the fact that they're not going to make everybody happy in the redistricting process.

Pryor said he was glad the board has decided to add a second majority black district in Pulaski County, which currently has one black Senate district. "I think that's a positive development for everybody," he said.

However, that second majority black district could end up electing a white incumbent. The board has agreed to include the Hillcrest neighborhood where Sen. John Riggs, D-Little Rock, lives in the proposed district, which is mostly south of Interstate 630. The district would be 60 percent black.

"It's majority African-American and that's a good thing," Riggs said during the meeting. "I'm not opposed to raising the threshold of African-Americans. That's never been a contention with me. The [redistricting] staff will tell you I've told them repeatedly it doesn't matter."

Steele said he supports the concession made for Riggs. He said there's plenty of blacks in the district to give a black candidate a good chance of winning. Plus, he said he expects that Riggs would take care of the black interests if he wins.

"He'll have to," Steele said. "Whoever wins will have the responsibility to represent the needs of minority [people]. He'll have to campaign on that."

Steele said he plans to run for the other majority black Senate district in Pulaski County, provided the proposed lines for that district aren't changed at the last minute. 

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Huckabee Proposals Delay Districting Vote
By Seth Blomeley

September 20, 2001 

 

The chance of a final vote Wednesday on a new legislative district map fell apart after Gov. Mike Huckabee asked for numerous specific local changes but failed to produce a detailed map showing the statewide effects of his proposals.

Huckabee, the only Republican on the three-member Board of Apportionment, said he wanted to be "on record" in opposing the map favored by the other board members, Attorney General Mark Pryor and Secretary of State Sharon Priest, both Democrats.

Priest and Pryor responded by offering Huckabee more time to put together a separate map, but the governor initially balked, saying he didn't want to cause delays. But neither Priest nor Pryor wanted to appear to be ignoring Huckabee's wishes. They insisted on giving him a chance to present his case.

"Governor, until we have a whole [statewide] plan, it would be hard for me to support the things you want to do because it would totally change everything else," Priest told Huckabee during the board meeting at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The disagreement means at least a week-long delay in finalizing new legislative district lines to reflect population changes recorded in the 2000 U.S. Census. The board gave its staff a week to draft Huckabee's plan. A vote was tentatively set for Wednesday.

"I realize I may not win this," Huckabee told Priest. "We're going to go about this in a genteel manner. But to be honest, there is a disagreement among our staffs. I want to be on record for these changes. But I'm not taking up a sword. It's an honest difference of opinion. I'm simply making one last appeal."

Priest then told Huckabee that he "was giving up too soon. It might be something Mark and I might be able to go along with. But we don't have [the changes] drawn up together."

Huckabee: "We can take them one [district] at a time."

Priest: "But, no you can't."

Huckabee: "Well, we can take them one at a time and draw them."

Pryor: "Would you like more time to do that?"

Huckabee: "To be very candid, I don't want to take up my time, your time, the staff's time to take any longer than necessary. If, in fact, there will be a real effort to look at [the changes] then I would be open to that. I'm certainly willing if that's a real effort on your part to redraw this and take a look at it."

Pryor: "It certainly is [a real effort]."

Priest: "I can't, in good conscience, vote against you until I see how all this reads and comes together."

After the meeting, Tim Humphries, Priest's chief redistricting staff member, said the board's staff focused on creating one joint recommendation. Numerous issues were voted on during the process and numerous drafts were produced. But there were never separate drafts by a staff member for either Priest, Huckabee or Pryor.

"The decision was made by the governor's staff not to create a [governor's] plan," Humphries said. "I'm not sure why. It was OK with us."

On Humphries comment, Huckabee referred questions to Olan "Butch" Reeves, his chief legal counsel who led his redistricting efforts.

Reeves said he didn't see a need to do a separate map. "My proposals didn't make it to the map," he said, referring to the draft statewide plan.

The board members have said they want to make sure the new district lines are finished by October so potential legislative candidates have time to meet a one-year residency requirement before the 2002 general election.

Also Wednesday, Huckabee, Priest and Pryor agreed to a request from state Sen. John Riggs, D-Little Rock, to make his neighborhood part of proposed District 33 instead of proposed District 32. The 33rd District, which has no incumbent, will be about 60 percent black. Riggs, who is white, said he has no problem running in a majority-black district.

Two weeks ago, it appeared that Riggs would be in a district with friend and fellow senator Jim Argue, D-Little Rock. Riggs said he wouldn't seek re-election rather than oppose Argue.

Huckabee's proposed changes included a compromise with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which wanted more majority-black districts. The staff offered 13 black House districts, and the NAACP wanted 17. The staff offered four black Senate districts, and the NAACP wanted six.

Huckabee offered 15 black House districts and five black Senate districts. The additional black districts would be in the Delta.

There are 100 House districts and 35 Senate districts. Blacks make up about 15.5 percent of the state's 2.67 million people, according to the census.

The governor also wanted to remove Searcy from a proposed District 29 Senate district that includes Jacksonville. He also wanted to remove Maumelle from a proposed District 31 that includes North Little Rock.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LR Senator Cries Foul Over Redistricting

By Seth Blomeley

September 6, 2001

 

The final draft of the legislative redistricting map released Wednesday puts two Little Rock state senators in the same district, infuriating one of them, who said staff for Secretary of State Sharon Priest and Attorney General Mark Pryor reneged on promises.

 

Under the plan, Sens. John Riggs and Jim Argue, both Democrats, would have to run against each other in proposed District 32, provided they didn't move or bow out. Riggs said the staff for Pryor and Priest told him that he and Argue would keep separate districts.

 

"Obviously there's a credibility problem," Riggs said.

 

Riggs and Argue would be the only incumbents to face each other in the Senate. There are four such potential matchups in the House.

 

Tim Humphries, a redistricting specialist for Priest, said staff never told lawmakers that they wouldn't have to face each other. "Everything's been in play," he said.

 

Humphries and Larry Crane, who works for Pryor, said that complaints from Jacksonville and North Little Rock residents about their cities being split among several legislative districts contributed to changes in proposed district lines that affected the Little Rock senators. Also, the goal of having a second majority black district in Pulaski County affected Riggs.

 

The redrawing of legislative districts comes every 10 years based on information from the U.S. Census. In Arkansas, the task falls to the Board of Apportionment, which is made up of the attorney general, the secretary of state and the governor. Priest and Pryor are Democrats and Gov. Mike Huckabee is a Republican.


The board will vote on the proposal at a Sept. 19 meeting at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Crane suggested that Riggs could move and run in District 33 where he has his business, J.A. Riggs Tractor Co. That district would be in southwest Little Rock and would be 59 percent black.

District 32 would encompass west Little Rock north of Interstate 630 and the Heights and Hillcrest neighborhoods. Only about 8,000 of its 73,599 residents are black. Both Argue and Riggs are white.

In previous drafts, Riggs would have been in District 33 without moving. At that point, the district was 53 percent black, Crane said. Riggs said he didn't mind running in such a district because he has support among blacks. But now Riggs said he plans not to run at all.

"Jim Argue is one of my closest friends, and I respect him highly," Riggs said. "I would never for no amount of money run against him. I guess I'll go back to real life."

Argue said he didn't feel deceived by the staffs of Priest or Pryor. Argue said he was friends with Riggs and didn't want to run against him.

"We'll have to both evaluate what our options are," Argue said.

Changes were precipitated by Jacksonville and Searcy residents who were upset about being placed in the same district. North Little Rock residents also complained because their city was divided among three districts, one that included parts of Maumelle and Conway and one that included substantial portions of Little Rock.

To mollify those cities, the Board of Apportionment staff put most of North Little Rock in District 31, which also will include Maumelle. Jacksonville and Searcy will still be in the same district but Jacksonville won't be divided by another district. Some of North Little Rock will be included in the majority black District 34 that goes to the southern end of Pulaski County.

Further limiting options, Crane said that Lonoke County residents made clear to the board that they didn't want Cabot spilt up by district lines. That led staff to start adjusting Little Rock's lines.

Other changes from previous drafts include removing Earle from the majority black District 16 in eastern Arkansas, now represented by Sen. Alvin Simes, D-West Helena, and putting it into the majority white District 17, which has no incumbent.

Also, District 18, represented by Sen. Bob Johnson, D-Morrilton, will now encompass Heber Springs.

House members that want to seek re-election that would have to run against each other under the plan are:


   Reps. Bill Bevis, D-Scott, and Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle;
    Reps. Jerry Taylor, D-Pine Bluff, and Booker Clemons, D-Pine Bluff;
    Reps. Barbara King, D-Helena, and Arnell Willis, D-West Helena;
    Reps. Mark Smith, R-El Dorado, and Gene Jeffress, D-Louann.

Jeffress in previous drafts would have had to run against Rep. Russ Bennett, R-Lewisville. But Smith likely will run for the Senate, making it easier for staff to redraw these lines, Crane said.



Members of the public will soon be able to view proposed changes in legislative district boundaries that could affect who represents them at the state Capitol.
   

Today the secretary of state's office will mail copies of the proposed district maps to all county clerks to display at courthouses.
   
The Board of Apportionment - made up of Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, Democratic Secretary of State Sharon Priest and Democratic Attorney General Mark Pryor - will hold 11 public hearings throughout the state on the proposals. The board will make a final decision on the lines by Oct. 1.
   
Staff members of the board have tweaked the proposal somewhat after receiving input from lawmakers since the release of a draft June 12.
   
Tim Humphries, an attorney for the secretary of state, said Thursday that a contested area was the north-central part of the state. He said chamber of commerce officials, county judges and state House members met with the board's staff recently.
   
Rep. Paul Weaver, D-Violet Hill, said that at one point, tiny Sharp County, with a population of only 17,000, was divided into parts of four proposed House districts, which is the situation it's in now. Under the revision, it would be part of two proposed districts.
   
Reapportionment also will mean an end to the at-large voting system for three House members in Fort Smith.
   
Rep. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, said he prefers the at-large system because it meant each Fort Smith resident was able to vote for three House members. "It served them better to have three people representing their interests," he said.
   
But he said he and the other two Fort Smith House members -- Rep. Jo Carson, a Democrat, and Rep. Denny Altes, a Republican -- won't have to run against each other because they live in different areas of town divided by the new district lines.
   
Files said most people in Fort Smith aren't worried about losing the at-large system, but some southern Fort Smith residents are bothered because they were moved into a district that includes mostly rural areas of Sebastian County.
   
State Democratic Party Chairman Ron Oliver of Little Rock said the proposal looks OK for Democrats. But he said some people in Jacksonville and Sherwood were bothered because that area is being placed in a district that includes Searcy, about 35 miles to the northeast.
   
"You're losing some commonality when you get that far away," Oliver said. "There may be some way to change it."
   
Republican Party Executive Director Marty Ryall was unavailable for comment Thursday.
   
The board's plan would do a good job of making up for the imbalances that left Northwest Arkansas under-represented after the 1990 Census, attorney David Matthews of Rogers said. Matthews was hired by the chambers of commerce of six Northwest Arkansas cities to keep an eye on redistricting.
   
Legislative districts in Northwest Arkansas were given fewer constituents per district than other portions of the state in 1990. This was to comply with a federal court order to create more districts in predominantly black areas of east Arkansas. The result was that fewer districts were created in predominantly white Northwest Arkansas.
   
Matthews publicly put the board on notice that his clients were willing to sue if the region was under-represented again. Matthews' clients include chambers in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Lowell, Rogers, Siloam Springs and Springdale.
   
"We would get three new state representatives and one new state senator in Benton and Washington Counties," Matthews said.
   
Reapportionment occurs every 10 years with information from the U.S. Census Bureau. Districts were particularly hard to draw in urban areas, officials said. Some legislative districts were split by census blocks, meaning people voting at the same precinct may not be in the same legislative district, said Richard Wilson, a Bureau of Legislative Research analyst.
   
Arkansas' population grew 13.7 percent between the 1990 Census and the 2000 Census, with most of the growth in Northwest Arkansas. The 2000 Census puts the state's population at 2.67 million.

Jenner & Block: http://www.jenner.com
Census figures expected soon
By Peggy Harris
February 26, 2001

Arkansas and the rest of the country soon get their first look at the 2000 U.S. Census figures that will determine how political power and government money will be distributed. Sometime in March, the U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release the information collected from citizens last year through questionnaires or door-to-door interviews. In Arkansas, the census count had a 64 percent response rate, down from 65 percent in 1990. But the actual count - 2,673,400 in preliminary figures - was 122,000 more people than the Census Bureau expected to find in Arkansas. Nationwide, the response rate for the 2000 census was 67 percent, up from 65 percent 10 years ago.

Sarah G. Breshears, director of the Census State Data Center, said Monday that the Arkansas rate was good and within range of the typical response rates to census counts. In addition, she said, the response rates were high in parts of the state where extra efforts were made to get accurate counts _ those with concentrations of Hispanic, black or other minority residents. Stressing the economic importance of the count, Breshears said $1.8 billion is a rough estimate of the amount of federal money distributed to Arkansas. Although not all of the federal funds distributed to the state are based on population figures, the count will affect funding.

The March release of census figures will include population figures for each state, voting-age population figures, and the number of people by race and ethnic groups. Breshears said residents in the 2000 census could identify themselves as members of one race or many races, resulting in 163 race-ethnic groups. For her office, that will mean ``a nightmare'' of information overload in mapping the figures and compiling them for distribution. On the day the figures are released, she said, her office will try to put on its Web site the population count by counties and cities, the number of residents by voting-age groups, and the count by major racial groups. The Web site also will include the percentage change from the 1990 census.

As far as any surprises, Breshears isn't expecting any. The most distinctive feature in Arkansas demographics over the last 10 years is the rise in Hispanic population - 170.3 percent - the largest in the nation. Breshears said the census will confirm that and also provide exact numbers that can be used in federal or state programs. Last December, the Census Bureau released preliminary total population figures for each state. Arkansas' 2,673,400 total was up 13.7 percent from the 1990 census - not enough to warrant adding a fifth congressional seat from Arkansas.

The state Legislature, in session now, is waiting on the March figures before redrawing the boundaries for the four congressional districts in Arkansas. Also awaiting the figures are Gov. Mike Huckabee, Secretary of State Sharon Priest, and Attorney General Mark Pryor. These three make up the state Apportionment Board and they will use the census numbers to redraw the lines of the state House and Senate districts. Their work has to be completed in time for next year's elections. County and city officials will be looking for the figures, also, to determine their political districts for Quorum Court members, city board and council members.

 

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