FLORENCE — Pinal County awaits the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s maps for congressional and legislative districts around the end of December.
It’s an interconnected process, with the county needing to know its congressional and legislative boundaries before it can draw new supervisor districts, and the new supervisor lines affecting voter precinct boundaries.
The late release of decennial census data has delayed the redistricting process, and the Legislature changed the deadline for counties to draw new districts from Dec. 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022.
At the AIRC meeting on Monday, independent Chairwoman Erika Neuberg said it would be the last meeting in which commissioners would be able to draw up separate maps based on their differing visions and goals for the congressional and legislative districts that Arizona will use for the next decade. On Thursday, when the AIRC was to meet next, the commissioners were to choose maps to use as their new starting points. And those are the starting points that the commission will stick with until it makes its final decisions, Neuberg said.
That means the commissioners will have to choose between competing maps proposed by the AIRC’s Democratic and Republican members. The commission’s mapping consultants will prepare four new maps for Thursday’s meetings — Democratic and Republican proposals for both the congressional and legislative maps based on recommendations the commissioners made on Monday.
After the maps are finalized, Pinal County staff have suggested holding public meetings in each supervisor district, and these meetings will likely occur in February and March, Quist told the board. The first round of meetings will explain redistricting and invite ideas from the public, and the second round will display proposed new district maps for public comments.
Maricopa City Councilwoman Nancy Smith urged the board, as it considers new supervisor district boundaries, not to split up “communities of common interest.” She further asked the board to try not to end up with districts that are too spread out. She said District 4 covers 115 miles between its boundaries. Smith said opportunities for public comment are important as well.
The goal is to draw new districts of about 85,000 people each. By law, districts should not differ in population by more than 10%.
All districts were relatively equal 10 years ago with populations ranging from about 72,000 to 78,500. But today, they’re very unequal, with less than 67,000 in District 1 in eastern Pinal and 108,823 in District 2 in San Tan Valley, Quist told the board.
Jeremy Duda, of the Arizona Mirror, contributed to this report.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.