Cutting out politics from drawing districts -The case of Arizona

Voters in Arizona have succeeded in removing politics from the district redrawing process that happens once every ten years. The success of this is measured by an analysis of inequities among districts in the nation. The state of Arizona is among the top states in reducing unequal representation. In the 2016 election, republicans took five of the nine available congressional seats showing just how much the cast votes are split between the two parties.

However, the redistricting process, overseen by a panel made of five members was still largely political and rife with disputes with the members of the Republican Party crying foul over the maps that were adopted prior to the 2012 general election. One of the republicans said the inequity analysis carried out by Associated Press does not take into consideration the federal voting rights law which requires that of the nine districts in the state, two will enable the minority groups to elect lawmakers. However, these are largely democratic and he therefore argues that this law left the redistricting commission with only 7 districts to allocate the republicans.

Chad Campbell (a democrat) however, commenting on the republican’s remarks called them ludicrous. He was of the view that the republicans were out to politicize the process and argued that from whichever perspective the results were viewed, they were “pretty reflective of the population of the state”. The new analysis is designed to detect partisan advantage specifically pointing cases in which a single party wins, widens or retains its grip on power by means of gerrymandering.

Voters in Arizona removed the redistricting process from the legislature arguing the process was being used to acquire political advantages. The redistricting commission is made up of five members, two republicans and two democrats and one independent. These are usually appointed by legislative leaders. The commission has faced various legal challenges including the removal of Chairwoman Colleen Mathis. The commission eventually disbanded recently.

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