Independent Redistricting Commission – Netting it Out

Yes, the IRC (Independent Redistricting Commission) is being investigated by Attorney General Tom Horne’s Office. Yes, the IRC chose Ken Strasma’s Strategic Telemetry (ST) to map Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts, even though Strasma’s claim to fame is microtargeting on behalf of a progressive lobbying group, and Strasma also headed the targeting efforts for Barack Obama’s campaign. Yes, a member of the IRC was “pressured” to give high marks to ST for political reasons. Yes, Strasma is having to "come up to speed" on the mapping software chosen by the IRC. Yes, this is anything but an “Independent” commission. Yes, it has the power to redistrict Arizona into Democrat-competitive districts.

They are a train wreck.

But the bottom line is this: They are REQUIRED to follow the Arizona Constitution. If they don’t, then we need to go back to the ballot box and get rid of them. We Arizonans voted in Prop 106, which created the IRC. We can vote to dissolve the IRC.

The following is what the IRC is required to do. If you can’t make it to a Public Hearing to say this in your own words, then send the IRC an email. To do that, go to their website, and complete the CONTACT form. Simply remind them to comply with the Arizona Constitution as follows:

Here are portions of Article 4 Part 2 Section 1 of the Arizona Constitution.

“(14) The Independent redistricting commission shall establish congressional and legislative districts. The commencement of the mapping process for both the congressional and legislative districts shall be the creation of districts of equal population in a grid-like pattern across the state. Adjustments to the grid shall then be made as necessary to accommodate the goals as set forth below:

A. Districts shall comply with the U.S. Constitution and the United States voting rights act;

B. Congressional districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable, and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;

C. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;

D. District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;

E. To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town, and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts;

F. To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.”

The IRC should not favor "competitive" districts, drawing lines that resemble a malaria germ, in order to divide an area into political units to give special advantages to one group over another. That is gerrymandering.

If the IRC honors the criteria set forth in the Arizona Constitution (Article 4. Part 2. Section 1), all should be well. But if they ignore those criteria or lean toward one of them to the detriment of all the others, that’s a perversion of the intent of Prop 106 and a denigration of the Arizona Constitution.