Arkansas Republicans have the pen in their hands. Fair maps in Arkansas? Not a chance.
We believe the redistricting process should be fair for voters; voters should pick their leaders, not politicians. But in Arkansas “fair” is a farce when it comes it our legislative maps. The people in charge of #FairMapsAR should be nonpartisan mapping experts. Instead, every ten years, we see one political party taking the lead. Unfortunately, this means everyday Arkansans are left underrepresented, which is a threat to our democracy.
Moreover the politicians in charge of redrawing our state districts have hired outright partisan lobbyists and former republican leaders to assist in the process. Why hire partisan lackeys when we could lean into experts at the Arkansas Geographic Information System Department (GIS)?
Will Republicans listen to Experts? Probably not.
For AR People reached out to the Arkansas GIS department to get a better understanding of what exactly our mapping experts do. Below is the response we received from Alex Johnston with the GIS department:
Does GIS staff advise the Board of Apportionment on the map-making process? If so, to what extent?
The GIS Office supports the Board of Apportionment by providing technical support for the use of redistricting software including assistance with installation, updating, and troubleshooting. GIS assisted with mapping incumbent’s residential location and formatting for loading into the software. The GIS Office also makes available to the Board of Apportionment all geospatial data layers accessible via gis.arkansas.gov. The Office analyzes the 2020 Census population data in relation to existing legislative districts to ascertain variances based the new Census data and provides maps illustrating these. Additionally, in January 2021, Director Johnson conducted an introductory redistricting seminar for key staff from each Board of Apportionment office.The GIS Office does not advise the Board of Apportionment on how to construct new districts.
Get loud for fair maps, Arkansas!
On top of our process being overtly unfair, the Board of Apportionment seems more concerned with keeping Republicans happy than listening to Arkansans. Are you tired of partisan politicians and lobbyists eating away at democracy? Tell the Board of Apportionment by following this link and leaving a public comment today.