Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
Buried on Page 12A is “State Senate limits redistricting panel,” noting a bill (SCR 1018) by Sen J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, to draw legislative boundaries that limit the Independent Redistricting Commission. That commission was created by the voters in 2000 for the express purpose of keeping legislative lines independent of political influence. Sen. Mesnard is upset that there are too many Republicans in certain districts. The Independent Redistricting Commission by law is tasked with creating districts that respect communities of interest, use county boundaries when possible, create as many politically competitive districts as possible, have districts of equal size and follow the federal Voting Rights Act. The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission stated that Mesnard’s bill would make it difficult for one of the 30 legislative districts to reflect Native American population.
In 2000 Arizona voters created the Independent Redistricting Commission to keep politics out of the redistricting process and to set up a system that is mathematically fair and provides equal representation. On Feb. 24 Republican lawmakers voted to make changes to that wish of the electorate for an independent process. The measure needs a final roll call vote, House approval and then goes to the November ballot to amend the Arizona Constitution to make redistricting less independent. Call your legislators and tell them you already voted for an independent redistricting process!