The governor’s announcement of a meeting of the all-Republican board to adopt new legislative districts makes no mention of changes in the original maps put out for 30 days of public comment. They’ve drawn some significant criticism, primarily from minority Democrats and residents of communities split up, but the Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state, plus the staff led by Republican Betty Dickey, seems unlikely to be responsive to such complaints.

Governor Asa Hutchinson as Chairman of the Board of Apportionment has recalled a meeting of the Board.

The Board will gather Monday, November 29 at 10:30 a.m. in the Old Supreme Courtroom. The Board will be reconvening to consider the adoption of Arkansas State and House districts. The meeting comes after the Board proposed maps to the public for an additional 30 days of public comment.

Governor Hutchinson first gathered the Board in May to analyze the incoming 2020 Census data in order to determine districts for the general assembly. They then reconvened in June to hold an executive session to consider and evaluate a redistricting coordinator.

In October, the Board met to consider proposed maps and open them to allow for public comment for 30 days.

To improve the transparency of the Board of Apportionment, a set of interactive proposed House and Senate district maps were put on the Board of Apportionment’s website.

The maps allowed the public to input their home address and see street-level detail of the proposed districts. Any comments made were then added to the public record.

Based on voting patterns, the new maps are likely to increase the already overwhelming Republican majority by as many as five seats in the 100-member House, where they already held a 76-24 edge. The maps also seem likely to add at least one Republican senate seat, where they held a 27-7 edge until one Republican seat was vacated. There’s one independent, Jim Hendren, who isn’t seeking re-election. If patterns hold, the edge could increase to 29-6.


UPDATE: A spokesman for the governor says “there are proposed changes to the maps. The redistricting maps are not final at this time and staff will continue to review public comments until final maps are adopted on Monday. We are happy to answer all questions regarding redistricting on Monday following the Board of Apportionment’s adoption of the maps.”

I’ve asked if the public will have an opportunity to see these changes before the board meets to adopt them. I received this response: