Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday rejected, for the second time, the ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment that would create an independent commission to draw Arkansas’ legislative and congressional district boundaries. Rutledge first shot down the proposed amendment’s title last month, citing ambiguities in the text. She noted additional unclear terms Friday. Little Rock attorney David Couch, who wrote the proposal, said the objections raised in Friday’s opinion are different from those raised in the first rejection.
If passed, the amendment would create a seven-member body to redistrict Arkansas’ General Assembly and congressional seat boundaries each decade after the U.S. Census. The redistricting process for state legislative districts is currently done by the governor, attorney general and secretary of state; the state Legislature draws the congressional district lines.
Proponents of measures like Couch’s argue that independent commissions minimize the chance that districts will be gerrymandered, or drawn in a manner favorable to one particular political party or candidate.