The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) elected to begin final debate on a set of congressional maps that are favored by Democrats.
The decision was made when independent Commission Chair Erika Schupak Neuberg sided with two Democrats to override the two-vote GOP minority.
The commission was established in November 2000, when voters in the state passed Proposition 106, a citizen initiative that amended the Arizona Constitution by removing the power to draw congressional and state legislative districts from the state legislature and reassigning this task to the IRC.
The vote that Neuberg decided created a starting point for the discussion of the final boundaries. The committee will continue to debate through multiple meetings on December 21 and 22nd.
The past decade has produced a congressional delegation that is composed of five Democrats and four Republicans. However, the new maps could shift the political strength of each party in different areas.
According to Dave Wasserman, a redistricting expert for The Cook Political Report (and with no relation to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz), maps that Neuberg supported for a starting point would create four Republican-safe districts and two Democratic-safe districts. Three regions would be considered competitive for both parties.
New: AZ's tie-breaking commission chair sides 3-2 w/ Dems to use this draft as a starting point for final negotiations on the congressional map.
As opposed to the R-backed plan (which likely would've been 6R-3D), this is 4R-2D-3C (w/ #AZ01, #AZ04 and #AZ06 pretty competitive). pic.twitter.com/exMVttJrhX
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 16, 2021
During the debate process, Neuberg seemed to side with maps proposed by the Republican members. However, in the final vote, she switched her support, surprising those following the process.
Over the past couple months, the individuals on the committee have listened to comments from the public in an effort to better craft the boundaries.
“Members of the public provided comments online by utilizing the online mapping system created by the mapping consultants, in addition the IRC website ‘Contact Us’ registered more than 16,000 comments submitted since January of 2021. Online comments were also submitted during business meetings, emailed and mailed to the commission. And then some tried their hand at map making using the IRC’s online application; others created their ideas on hand drawn on paper or through draft map forms provided at meetings,” the group detailed in a press release.
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Commission Chair Erika Schupak Neuberg” by Arizona Independence Redistricting Commission and photo “Arizona State Capitol” by Gage Skidmore CC BY 2.0.