Does this proposed Arizona redistricting map favor Democrats?

Arizona Republicans think so. In fact the row over redistricting is making this ordinarily bland matter of state business into a war.

There are a few guidelines for the commission creating the map (made up of two Democrats, two Republicans and an independent chair):

  • the districts should be compact and contiguous
  • they should comprise areas of common interest
  • they should make use of natural boundaries
  • they must be equal sizes by population.

La Paz County Recorder Shelly Baker can’t see how the proposed district including La Paz County is compact, nor how it comprises areas of common interest with, say, Yavapai County or the Maricopa County portion of the proposed district.

“Russ Jones made a proposal which would have kept Yuma County and La Paz County together, that made a lot more sense,” Baker said. “But clearly this commission started with the premise that the border towns be together.”

District 4, shown in green above, is a wide arch, extending all the way from the western boundary of Arizona through Yavapai County and the Prescott area and down to the eastern side of the Phoenix area.

Although Baker acknowledges that the commission has a difficult job, she, along with La Paz County Assessor George Nault and many other Republicans, feels the map is designed to keep the Democratic-leaning minority votes together. “It would be impossible for a Republican to win in some districts. That’s where the whole gerrymandering thing comes in,” she said.

Gerrymandering is the process of manipulating political boundaries so that they favor one party or class.

The war hit a peak last week as Republican Governor Jan Brewer used her power as governor to oust the chairperson, Colleen Mathis, who Republicans contend hired a mapping firm with ties to Democrats. Mathis had made adjustments to the congressional map from home one weekend last month, prompting some to label it “the midnight switch”. When she returned with her version of the map, the western Arizona ‘river district’ including La Paz County had been extended to the east side of metropolitan Maricopa County and took in Fountain Hills.

Brewer also wanted to remove the two Democrats on the commission, but couldn’t get the votes.

The commission responded with a lawsuit, saying the move exceeded the governor’s authority. The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track the case and will hear oral arguments later this month.

“Right now? It’s a mess,” Baker said.

With the chairperson gone, the redistricting process has ground to a halt. ASU’s Jennifer Steen says the 2012 election will probably unfold under court-drawn maps instead.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s website can be found HERE.

6 comments

  1. Has anyone seen the gerrymandering for La Paz County yet? It’s guaranteed to keep the establishment in power! As the old saying goes, “you get the government you deserve”!!!

  2. Not familiar enough with the other Congressional Districts to know if they’re gerrymandered or not, but I’m just happy the new map gets us OUT of Grijalva’s District and into the new District 4. The District who’s Congressional seat Paul Babau is looking to run for in 2012. Even if Democrats get more of a state foothold, going from Grijalva to Babau as our Congressman makes it worth it to me.

    I still don’t understand why County “Leaders” are complaining about our Districts being moved from the old Yuma County areas to Mohave County areas. Look at our County now, as opposed to 30 years ago. We have MUCH more in common with Mohave County than we do with Yuma. Do we want too be in the same districts as left leaning Yuma County, which has needs and wants completely different than modern day La Paz? Or do we want to be in districts with right leaning Mohave County, which DOES have similar wants and needs as we do?

    Didn’t we break away from Yuma in 1983 to get AWAY from them? Why do the county “leaders” want to stay associated with them? This county will never have a “Future Unlimited” until those in power realize that doing things just because “that’s how we’ve always done it” is NOT going to help us advance. Time to start doing things differently, because the same old ways are what got us into this mess.

    Mr. Roth, are you referring to the redistricting of the 3 Board of Supervisors Districts? If so, you;re 100% right. Those are an absolute joke. I’m just not sure if it’s the state redistricting Commission responsible for that, or if people in the county drawing those districts. If someone knows, please enlighten us.

  3. Is anyone here interested in drawing up a different proposal for the County Districts? I think Mr. Shotzer had a once in a lifetime good idea when he floated the idea of 5 supervisors in the other thread. This County could handle it and it would break up the mafia’s, I mean the county government’s control of the entire political system. At least it would help. With only 3 Supes. it’s too easy for Dan Field and the gang to control things. How about it CS, you down with this?

  4. I actually agree with the 5 Supervisor idea 100%. People say we don’t “need” 5 Supervisors. The problem is that with only 3 Supes, all it takes is a bad Supervisor (Like say, Gene Fisher) to convince ONE other person to jump on board the corruption and/or stupidity bandwagon.

    You now have an unbeatable majority from only 2 people, with the third Supervisor powerless to do anything about it. This is exactly how Yakima happened in the first place. Fisher got Mary Scott on his side, and there was nothing Cliff Edey could do to stop them.

    With 5 Supervisors, it would be much more difficult to create a buddy buddy majority on the Board. While its still not impossible, its much harder to buy yourself a 3 out of 5 Supervisor majority than it is for a 2 to 1. And two voices speaking out on the board against a majority is much stronger than 1.

  5. So, are you willing to put a little effort into making this a reality? At least try? I am but I’m not going to go it alone. I’d like to work with some people from around the County. Are there any patriots out there that still give a damn?

  6. I didn’t think so! Remember, you get the government you deserve!

    Common Sense, think about it, the so called “leaders” of this county would rather be in left leaning Yuma because they are a bunch of statists. To them, collectivism is a good thing.

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