By Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director

**This op-ed was originally published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette**

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau provided the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico with population counts to use in drawing of the electoral district boundaries for representation in Congress, state legislatures, and many county and municipal offices—a process also known as “redistricting.” 

The district maps that get drawn in the days and months ahead will determine if and how Arkansans' political voice is heard in our government for the next 10 years -- these lines dictate not only who runs for public office and who is elected, but also how financial resources are allocated for schools, hospitals, roads and more.

As the once-in-a-decade process begins in our community, elected officials have an obligation to ensure that Arkansas voters are choosing their politicians—not the other way around. District maps must ensure fair and equal representation for all people, upholding the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and complying with the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Read more at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

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