Democrats push for review of redistricting
April 18, 2022
The Arizona Democratic Party is asking the attorney general to investigate recent changes to legislative redistricting maps, with the claim that some of the boundary lines were drawn to keep Republican candidates in safe GOP districts. Jeremy Duda with Axios-Phoenix has been covering the story.
The Arizona Constitution makes it illegal for the commission that draws electoral districts from considering the impact it would have on incumbent candidates, and if this were found to be true, the maps may have to be redrawn.
“The point of this commission is to get legislators, who had been drawing the districts for decades, out of that business. They would always protect themselves or their friends, and a big part of this is to not let that happen. They’re watching this happen in three districts,” Duda said.
Democrats allege that the non-partisan head of the commission allowed the two Republican commission members to make changes to the district maps to move incumbents into more favorable districts.
“The Navajo Nation signed off, everyone was good, and then they came back from a break and David Mehl, Republican commissioner from Tucson said ‘hey, one more quick change we want to make, we want to move this line.'” Duda said. “Turns out, it moved a small portion of Flagstaff, and Wendy Rogers, into the Republican district.”
But without someone explicitly stating that they moved a particular line because of the location of an incumbent, it can be nearly impossible to prove, Duda said.
There have also been concerns about the use of state resources for electoral politics, such as the use of Senate staff by Senator Vince Leach to contact local officials and urge them to support the district map.
“I couldn’t say why exactly they waited this long. When I asked they said they wanted to wait after the filing deadline which was April 4th so there was no confusion about what the districts were gonna look like,” Duda said. “If they had the evidence they needed to show that the commissioners intentionally drew these lines to benefit incumbents, they would have gone to court months ago.”