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Redistricting In Arizona

What is redistricting?

Redistricting is the process of redrawing boundary lines for electoral districts. At the state level, this includes congressional and legislative districts and is the focus of this information. Redistricting also occurs at the local level, which might include counties, cities and school districts. For more information on local redistricting, please contact the local jurisdiction that interests you.

Congressional and legislative district lines are redrawn every ten years, after the decennial United States census, to account for population shifts and to ensure near equal representation in government. Currently, Arizona has 9 congressional districts and 30 legislative districts. Congressional district allocation is determined by population, and changes through a process called reapportionment.

How does redistricting occur in Arizona?

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) is established by Arizona Constitution, Article IV, Part 2, Section 1. In 2000, Arizona voters passed Proposition 106, which amended the Arizona Constitution to form a five-member commission, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC), to redraw congressional and legislative district lines after each census. Prior to the approval of Proposition 106, the legislature was responsible for drawing the congressional and legislative lines for redistricting. The AIRC is independent of the state legislature.

Who are the members of the AIRC and how are they appointed?

The current commissioners are:
David Mehl – Republican
Douglas York – Republican
Shereen Lerner – Democratic
Derrick Watchman – Democratic
Erika Schupak Neuberg – Independent, Chairwoman

Four commissioners are selected by the majority and minority leaders of the state legislature (House & Senate) from a list of 25 nominees that are nominated by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments. The 25 nominees consist of 10 Republicans, 10 Democrats and 5 who are not affiliated with either major political party. The nominees come from a pool of applicants that meet the criteria set out in the Arizona Constitution.

The fifth commissioner is selected by the 4 members already appointed from the pool of nominees. The fifth commissioner cannot be registered with any party already represented on the commission and will serve as chair. A Commissioner can be removed “for substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office” by the Governor and a ⅔ vote from the state senate.

What process must the AIRC follow for redistricting?

Arizona Constitution, Article 4, pt. 2, § 1

Once the data is received from the Census Bureau, the AIRC will create districts of equal population in a grid-like pattern across the state. There will be one grid map for congressional districts and another grid map for legislative districts.

Next, the AIRC will adjust the Grid using required criteria (see below) and develop draft maps for public consideration. The public comment period will be open for at least 30 days and during that time, the public can provide comments on the draft maps and even submit maps of their own for consideration. The AIRC can take into account the public comments provided and then adopt the final maps. While there is not a required deadline for the adoption of final maps, candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by April 4, 2022.

SB1107: redistricting; petition signatures; 2022 candidates was signed by Governor Ducey on March 30th with an emergency clause, and is operative immediately as provided by law. This bill permits the Secretary of State to accept congressional and legislative nomination petitions from candidates under the lines used in 2020, the lines adopted by the AIRC in 2021 or lines designated by a court for 2022 elections.

What criteria is used to make adjustments to the Grid?

The AIRC shall make adjustments to Grid to draw the new boundaries using the criteria outlined below:

  • Congressional districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable, and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;
  • Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States voting rights act;
  • Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;
  • District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;
  • To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts;
  • To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.

Impact on Voting:

Redistricting and reapportionment impacts voting – from your local school district board to the President of the United States. Redistricting is meant to ensure each individual’s vote has equal weight and can impact the identity, obligations, political agenda and competitiveness of the district. To To better understand the impacts on voting, let’s go to the very beginning of the voting process. When registering to vote, a voter must include their residential address on the form. Where a voter resides determines which precinct and districts the county recorder registers them in. This determines which candidates the voter is eligible to vote for. If a voter moves, they are required to update their voter registration with their new residential address to ensure they are voting in the districts assigned to their residential address. While the focus of this information is on redistricting for congressional and legislative districts, redistricting also occurs at the local level, impacting lines for board of supervisors, city council districts, etc. County elections officials design ballots by precinct, among other criteria, and there can be thousands of different ballot styles in the state. All of these voting boundaries impact what candidates and ballot measures will appear on the voter’s ballot.

Every even year, voters consider candidates for their congressional district and legislative district during the statewide primary and general elections. Who gets elected to office and who is able to vote for the candidates is determined in part by the district lines.

Reapportionment also impacts voting for president. The number of congressional districts a state has equates to the number of electoral college votes for that state, plus two votes from Senate representation. Arizona had 9 congressional districts and therefore 11 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. Arizona did not pick up an additional seat after the 2020 census and remains at 9 congressional districts.

How You Can Participate:

Voters can stay up to date on the state redistricting process by visiting https://irc.az.gov/. The AIRC is required to post a public notice and agenda prior to their meetings so the public can watch on the AIRC’s YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa32vHV7BcKaUkRTfxZWoDw

Additionally, voters can submit their feedback and even their own proposed maps to the AIRC during the public comment period. The AIRC has launched mapping software for the public to design their own maps, the Redistricting System. You can learn how to use the software with these training videos.

Please contact the local jurisdiction you are interest in to participate in their redistricting process.

Updated Voter Registration Cards:

Once the final maps have been adopted, the county recorders and elections officers will update voter registration records to reflect the new lines. Voters whose districts have changed will receive a new voter registration card in the mail.

Helpful Links:

Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Website
https://irc.az.gov/

2010 Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission Website
https://azredistricting.org/

Find my District Tool
https://www.azcleanelections.gov/arizona-election/voter-education-guide/district-locator

2010 Congressional Maps
https://azredistricting.org/Maps/Final-Maps/Congressional/Maps/Final%20Congressional%20Districts%20-%20Statewide%208x11.pdf

2010 Legislative Maps
https://azredistricting.org/Maps/Final-Maps/Legislative/Maps/Final%20Legislative%20Districts%20-%20Statewide%208x11.pdf