LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A coalition of Arkansas community groups called “People Not Politicians” (PNP) is announcing a new campaign to change the state’s redistricting process through a statewide ballot initiative filed today with Secretary of State John Thurston.
In order to qualify for the ballot, the group will need to collect 89,151 valid signatures from registered voters in at least 15 counties. If successful, the measure will appear on the ballot in November, 2022.
“We all know that voters should choose their politicians, but the current system allows politicians to pick their voters. Shifting power back to the people in order to end partisan gerrymandering is an important first step in fixing the problems in our state,” said Loriee Evans, spokesperson for PNP and lead organizer for Indivisible of Little Rock and Central Arkansas.
The proposed constitutional amendment would create a Citizens’ Redistricting Commission tasked with redrawing district maps for the United States House of Representatives, the state House of Representatives and the state Senate in 2023.
The commission would be composed of nine members: three Republicans, three Democrats, and three members with other or no political party affiliation. Additionally, the measure prohibits participation by current and former political operatives, lobbyists, and elected officials.
“This is essentially the same initiative we filed in 2020 that was very popular with voters, until it was thrown off the ballot on a technicality,” said attorney and author of the amendment, David Couch. “We were successful in collecting over 100,000 signatures then, and I feel confident that we will do it again.”
To learn more, visit www.arpeople.org.