Group Files Referendums To Challenge Split Districts
Voters should decide whether to keep voting boundaries Arkansas legislators set for the state's four U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 Census, according to a group circulating a petition to put the new redistricting map on the 2022 ballot.
Arkansans for a Unified Natural State filed ballot titles with the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office for two referendums. If successful, the referendums would ask Arkansas voters in November 2022 whether Acts 1114 and 1116 should go into effect.
The two acts are identical and represent congressional boundaries the House and Senate passed this fall. Typically legislators approve new congressional boundaries during their spring session. But U.S. Census Bureau delays caused Arkansas legislators to recess their spring session and come back this fall when Census data was available to discuss how to handle population loss and growth in different areas of the state.
The new boundaries, which split Pulaski County into three U.S. House of Representatives districts and Sebastian into two districts among other changes, are set to go into effect Jan. 14, 2022. (See a general overview of the new boundaries by clicking on SB743 on this Arkansas Democrat-Gazette map).
To qualify for the ballot - and delay the new boundaries from going into effect - Arkansans for a Unified Natural State must submit at least 53,491 voter signatures from across 15 counties by Jan. 13, 2022.
Arkansas is one of 15 states where citizens can propose statewide ballot issues for constitutional amendments, new state laws and referendums. The Arkansas Legislature also has the right to submit up to three constitutional amendments to voters on the statewide ballot.
As of Oct. 26, seven proposed ballot titles and two referendums have been filed with the Secretary of State's Office for the November 2022 ballot. Read the monthly newsletter to find proposals from the legislature and those filed by citizen groups.