David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer who’s working on a ballot measure to put a non-partisan commission in charge of drawing legislative districts after the Census, points me to a USC study that shows Arkansas in the top 10 states for gerrymandered legislative districts.
The key measure in Arkansas is the number of legislative seats controlled by one party compared with that party’s share of the vote.
Overall, Arkansas is tied for 8th with the worst partisan gerrymandered legislative districts.
The irony here is that the current legislative districts in Arkansas were drawn by a three-member panel then with a Democratic majority, shortly before the Republican tsunami in the South fed by hatred of the black president.
Said the study from the USC Schwarzenegger Institute:
While the federal courts have stepped away from the “political thicket” in Rucho and Lamone, litigation at the state level is ongoing against many districts and is likely to continue.
Many state laws in those states where a partisan-leaning legislature or a partisan-leaning politician commission [as it stands Republicans will control the process after the 2020 Census] is charged with redistricting still have other restrictions. Litigation within these states against the most extreme partisan gerrymanders may occur if violations of compactness,
unnecessary splitting of municipal boundaries and communities of interest, and other restrictions are needlessly violated.
Legal opponents of partisan gerrymandering are likely to pursue these
strategies in the future, taking a state-by-state approach to litigation against partisan gerrymanders with a focus on violations of legal restrictions written in state law.
The classification of the worst gerrymanders in the United States identifies those state legislative maps that have minority rule or have extreme disproportionality. These data are new and have never been presented previously. Most work classifying partisan redistricting has examined congressional districts, and those that have examined state legislative redistricting have focused on previous time periods. We present these data as a resource for scholars, lawyers, and practitioners who may find them impactful or useful.
Here’s more background on Couch’s ballot initiative.