The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is meeting to begin making initial changes to the State’s Congressional and Legislative voting maps. The changes are based on a variety of guidelines, including population size, competitiveness, and keeping intact communities of interest. The goal is to get the final maps in place by the end of the year. Jeremy Duda’s been covering the Commission’s work for the Arizona Mirror. We spoke to Jeremy earlier.
How far along is the Redistricting Commission in terms of drawing these maps?
“Not very far, they just started really drawing these. They had the grid maps that were approved a few weeks ago which is basically an arbitrary starting point to wipe the previous map clean…equal population districts based on nothing else but the number of people,” Duda said.
He continued that for the very first time they’ve started adjusting those lines based on the criteria the Commission needs to follow in order to create districts, but they’re pretty far from done.
One of the criteria, “Communities of Interest” has dominated most of the Commission’s time so far.
But what is a “Community of Interest”?
“It’s really whatever you want it to be, it’s a grouping of people who have similar interests, concerns, needs, desires, etc. for policy and representation purposes. It could be people who all work at a similar industry…it could be people who all go to the same church or use the same park,” Duda said.
It can also be people using similar transportation or government services in a City, Town, County or neighborhood. Many people from the public have proposed maps of various communities of interest.
When will these new maps be done?
The maps “should” be done by the end of the year but, “it’s hard to say, they’re aspirational schedule as they’ve put it has them approving…draft maps on October 27th and the final map on December 27th. That’s a pretty tight schedule considering the delays in the census, they got started much later than normal…it’s possible,” Duda said.