Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission is busy drawing lines for legislative and congressional districts, in a time crunch aggravated by a pandemic-driven delay in getting census numbers. Meanwhile, some local entities in Arizona will have to do the same thing. Some cities have voter districts, and the counties and community colleges do also. Pinal County’s five members of the Board of Supervisors were elected last year, meaning there will be no election there until 2024, giving some breathing room.
However, Central Arizona College now uses the same districts as the county for its Governing Board election, and a seat will be up for CAC next year.
Cities in Pinal County do not have voter districts, and that is a good thing. Having that creates a natural rivalry, especially for dollars spent. Council members in this area generally take pride in representing the whole of their cities, which benefits all residents. Councils usually have some members that are more articulate or assertive, and pitting members against each other would be harmful.
In the Valley, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria and Buckeye are redistricting. Phoenix and Surprise will take longer to redraw council boundaries. Phoenix is in the process of switching from odd-year elections, as Casa Grande did a few years ago.
For the big issue affecting Pinal County, preliminary legislative and congressional districts apparently will be rolled out Tuesday before more hearings and feedback from residents. That will lead to finalizing the districts about the end of the year, as campaign season kicks into gear. Some candidates already are running without knowing what their districts will be.
As we’ve said before, the process always generates complaints from one party or the other — or both. Of course, it is not a perfect method, but what is? Residents should be prepared to attend hearings and make their preferences known as they have more opportunity to participate.
— Donovan Kramer Jr.