Public Comments to the Independent Redistricting Commission ASAP

URGENT! CALL FOR ACTION!

Public Comments to the Independent Redistricting Commission ASAP

Phase 2 – New Maps

On Tuesday, the Independent Redistricting Commission listened to public comment and released a new, updated, version 12.1.1 map. It placed Flagstaff into the Tribes proposed map, restored the eastern towns in their own district, kept all of the “copper corridor” intact, addressing the ranching, farming, forest “community of interest” desires of the new district residents. Nearly all of the district is rural as we desired. NOW THE COMMISSION HAS REVERSED ITSELF TO CATER TO SPECIAL INTERESTS…A VIOLATION OF LAW.

FROM GILAGOP CHAIRMAN MORRIS:

Dear Commissioners:

I have applauded the Commission’s  “balanced” work, and the Commission’s focus on the prime directive in the law, complying with the “community of interest” throughout the process. That support ended Friday with the new version 13.1 and 14 maps. With these new maps the Commission is violating their prime directive that requires the Commission to focus on the “community of interest” mandate stated in the law.

At the December 1st public hearing in Payson, the hearing started with ZOOM testimony from 7 members of the Navajo Nation. In each testimony, the Tribe members testifying used the word “republican” in derogatory terms repeatedly and in every case stated the Tribe wanted to “elect the candidate of their choice…” – meaning only a Democrat candidate. The Commission failed to intercede and direct the speakers to comply with non-partisan criteria which they stated at the opening of the hearing. 

Then, Navajo Commissioner Watchman stated to the Commission, “Because we have to consider whether or not including Flagstaff jeopardizes the ability for the Natives to elect the candidate of their choice…”again meaning a Democrat only.

After Navajo testimony, the Commission received the last-minute map submissions of major changes in statewide legislative and congressional districts by the very “political” Latino and Native American Coalitions, which is clearly disruptive to the redistricting process. For the Commission to accept them without vetting their impacts reeks of unethical conduct and politics.  

The last minute13.1 and 14 maps reflect that the Commission is folding to political pressure and the new maps send a wave of changes across all of the state’s legislative and congressional districts, creating major disruptions in the Commission’s work late in the process. 

The Commission is disregarding the more than 350 Gila County area residents who attended the December 1st hearing in Payson. 95 county residents signed up to speak and 90 percent spoke in OPPOSITION to inserting Flagstaff into the new legislative District 7. 

Flagstaff has no “communities of interest” linkage at all to “rural” counties. There are no ranches, farming, or mining interests in Flagstaff. The 12.1.1 map was excellent in addressing rural communities of interest.

Flagstaff has a greater linkage to the Navajo Nation than to any other cities or towns in northeastern Arizona; and further, Flagstaff’s own website brags of the city’s relationship with the Navajo Nation. 

Flagstaff is the commerce and cultural hub of everything north of Interstate 40, including the Navajo Nation. Flagstaff should be inserted into the new District 6 as the reflected in the 12.1.1 map.

Federal law requires (1) the most and least populous districts’ population must be within a small window of just 10%; and (2) maintain majority-minority districts so that they do not “improperly dilute minorities’” voting power” (Voter Rights Act).

The Arizona Constitution requires the committee to favor districts which are (1) geographically contiguous, (2) geographically compact, (3) comprised of a community of interest (a perceived common geographic, political, or cultural boundary), (4) account for political boundaries (such as cities, town, counties), and (5) competitiveness.  

The Commission needs to return to map 12.1.1

The Gila County Republican Party is asking all Republicans to take 5 minutes and call and/or email the Commission and simply state (in your own words) that you are impressed with the new 12.1.1 map, and that you support this version of District 7.

Do it by email or phone (both preferred).

Call (602) 364-0240

IRCAdmin@azdoa.gov or, Google  Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Another alternative is to place a comment to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission by clicking on the following link https://irc.az.gov/contact-us 

If for any reason this doesn’t work on your email client, then you must do a two-step process:

  1. First access the AZ Independent Redistricting Commission homepage at https://irc.az.gov/
  2. Then you must click your cursor directly on the “CONTACT US” in the banner headings at the top of the page that takes you to the same email comment fill-in form.  Do not click on any of the three drop down menu options under CONTACT US.

When you go to the email site, it will read “Contact Us – Arizona Independent Commission”

  • Click on the title (It brings up the comment boxes)
  • Fill the boxes and click the green box titled “Submit”.

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