Politics

Arkansas Congressional Redistricting Study Published

Alex Johnston, Chief Administrative Officer 
Department of Transformation and Shared Services

The Department of Transformation and Shared Services (TSS) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office announced the publication of a series of maps and charts for the state’s congressional districts dating back to the 1940s.

The GIS team compiled the historic census information by county to analyze the redistricting statistics for each decade. The data shows the total population of each district at that time and the population for each county in the district for the decade. The project was led by GIS Director and State Geographic Information Officer Shelby Johnson.

When asked what prompted his research, Johnson said, “The past four years we have been working on providing Arkansas’ GIS data to the U.S. Census Bureau so we can make sure that population is correctly counted, this includes school districts, election precincts, and cities. When the Bureau announced they were pushing back the deadline to deliver population data to the states to September 30, 2021, we realized this was going to create a compressed timeline for the redistricting work.”

Johnson continued, “We are gearing up for something that is only done once every ten years. Looking back at these historical districts is a good way to educate people on the processes. When the new election maps are drawn in 2021, we want to be able to pull them all into the statewide system and publish for use in this next decade.”

“The State of Arkansas is fortunate to have someone with Shelby’s expertise and historic knowledge to lead us during the compressed timeline for redistricting this year,” said Secretary Amy Fecher.

Johnson’s experience in redistricting spans almost three decades; he has been a key player in redistricting work during 2000, 2010, and now supporting the 2020 decade work. Johnson has performed GIS related work for the state for 29 years.

The redistricting study and historical census information is published online and is viewable at the following link: https://historic-redistricting-agio.hub.arcgis.com/.

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