What is Redistricting?
Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative and congressional district lines following the decennial U.S. Census. The lines are redrawn so that districts are of very nearly equal population as required by the Arizona and United States Constitutions.
How and Why was the Commission Formed?
The Commission was formed by the passage of Proposition 106 by the people of Arizona in the 2000 General Election. Proposition 106 amends the Arizona Constitution to create a five-member commission to redraw Congressional and Legislative district boundaries following the 2000 Census. Previously, the State Legislature was responsible for redrawing the lines. Many people believed this practice resulted in boundaries that served the politicians instead of the people of Arizona. The five-member Redistricting Commission acts independently of the State Legislature.
What is a Grid Map?
The Arizona Constitution mandates that redistricting begin with a grid map. This is to ensure that each Independent Redistricting Commission starts from scratch.
But these grid maps reflect only two of the six criteria the commissioners are required to consider:
- Equal population; and
- Compactness and contiguousness
- In drafting the new district maps, commissioners must modify the grid maps to account for four other criteria:
- Compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act;
- Respect for communities of interest;
- Incorporation of visible geographic features, including city, town and county boundaries, as well as undivided census tracts; and
- Creation of competitive districts where there is no significant detriment to other goals.
- Once those modifications have been done, the resulting draft may bear little resemblence to the grid map.