Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Redistricting -- changing by inches

On Thursday, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission cautiously made the first tentative changes to draft maps it adopted in October. Four commissioners attended (Stertz was listening in on the live stream and reportedly was ready to call in with anything he had to add to deliberations) and without objection (yes, it was unanimous) approved four sets of changes. Technically, these changes are being "submitted for analysis" by Professor Gary King. The racially polarized voting analysis, that is. They will be subject to further deliberation and vote after the analysis is updated.

The changes can be viewed in Google Earth by clicking on the KMZ files. The change reports, showing the demographics, are in the PDF files.

  • LD Improve Voting Rights Act LD24 -- KMZ   PDF
  • LD Improve Voting Rights Act LD4 --  KMZ   PDF       
  • CD Hispanic Coalition for Good Government CD3v2 -- KMZ   PDF
  • CD Hispanic Coalition for Good Government CD7v2 -- KMZ   PDF

Voting Rights Act consultant Bruce Adelson suggested that districts as proposed also be compared to the benchmark (existing, as used for the 2010 election) voting rights districts. Strategic Telemetry expects to provide the first of those comparison charts for Friday morning's session.

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Executive director Ray Bladine presented initial cost data for legal services, for litigation, for review of public records requests and general legal services (related to meetings, deliberations, public input hearings, etc). Thus far, the total is $711,523. Pursuant to a question Herrera had posed about the costs incurred for fulfilling public records requests to date, Bladine said the total is $21,266. My understanding is that the bulk of those costs are related to the demand for records submitted by Republican lawmakers, Sen. Biggs(hot) and Rep. Terri Proud. Remember, the "drown them in paper" strategy they engaged in last summer?

Bladine also presented a spreadsheet with data on the amount of time the AIRC has spent in session, including executive sessions in 2011. However, that spreadsheet needs to be updated because some of the early executive sessions were not included. When that is revised, I will report the results on the blog.

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During the Call to the Public, I addressed the term, "hyper-packing of Republicans" that Stertz introduced and Freeman also used a time or two this week. Here's (for the most part) what I said:
For Messrs Freeman and Stertz, who have this week introduced a Frank Luntz style expression -- hyper-packing of Republicans -- into the redistricting lexicon, I wanted to mention the fact the expression is totally unrelated to Voting Rights Act considerations. I also appreciate that Ms. McNulty posed to Mr. Stertz and he replied that he believes, hypothetically, of course, it would be hyper-packing to make a district come out to 97 percent Republicans in order to facilitate establishment of competitive districts elsewhere in Arizona.

I cannot believe that anyone has proposed or needs to propose such an absurd outcome in order to accommodate competitive districts. 
Further, from questions they posed to Rep. Campbell yesterday, it appears Messrs. Freeman and Stertz are still under the mistaken impression that competitive districts are not feasible without such hyper-packing.
I have previously cited on the record and in my blog that outside of Maricopa County, I understand that voter registration is roughly balanced between Democratic and Republican voters. Such a balance renders those claims completely irrelevant.

1 comment:

  1. When I looked at the competitiveness data on the draft maps I found several districts in which the percentage of Democrats was much higher than the percentage of Republicans. This may be due to voting rights criteria, but nonetheless if commissioners Stertz and Freeman are concerned about 'hyperpacking' then maybe they need to look for ways to add more Republicans to THOSE districts.

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