census redistricting

Board hashes out county district lines


PHOENIX — Scott Jarrett is the director of election day and emergency voting for the Maricopa County Elections Department, the man responsible for helping officials decide where everyone votes and who in the county they can elect.

Last September, Jarrett and two county judges walked the supervisors through more than 130 changes that are largely the result of the fast-paced growth of Maricopa County and Arizona in general.

Monday, Jarrett walked the supervisors back through that process and discussed maps — as well as taking public input.

Intended to be completed much earlier after the completion of each U.S. Census, redistricting deadlines were moved back because of the slow completion of the 2020 Census. The five Maricopa County supervisor district boundaries are being redrawn, with the deadline for this year’s redistricting extended to July 1.

“Typically, we would have all this done by December 2021,” Jarret said.

Re-districting is meant to show decennial, or every-10-year, population changes and movement as reflected by the U.S. Census.
Monday’s meeting was discussion only. The board has yet to vote on final maps.

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission has already redrawn the state’s eight Congressional districts and 30 state legislative districts.

The public can still view the five draft maps and make comments online at maricopa.gov/5820/Decennial-Redistricting.

Jarrett pointed out the county’s guidelines won’t go into affect until the ongoing election cycle is complete. That means Thomas Galvin, who was appointed to replace Steve Chucri after the District 2 supervisor resigned last year, along with candidates for some special health care, community college, fire, justice of the peace and constable seats, will run using boundaries established after the 2010 U.S. Census.

Unlike the IRC, which must start from a fresh, blank grid, Jarrett said, county staff are allowed to use the existing 2011 county district maps as a starting point.

Jarrett presented five map options and pointed out some major changes that would take place if that map were selected as is. For example, the map labeled draft plan No. 1 has plenty of movement along the District 1/District 5 boundary, in the Chandler area.

Four people spoke on redistricting at Monday’s meeting.

Berdetta Hodge is a Tempe City Council member-elect and a Tempe Union High School District member. She asked the board to pursue map options that would prevent Tempe from being split in a way that puts north and south parts of the city in different supervisor districts.

Tempe resident Lydia Guzman echoed that sentiment.

Former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell also spoke. She encouraged supervisors and staff to continue their work in putting the best final map together, and starting with established maps is a better process.

Purcell said Tempe residents tend to regard the town of Guadalupe as part of their community. She also mentioned Anthem and Paradise Valley as areas that generally encourage inclusion in districts with nearby unincorporated neighborhoods.

A precinct secretary asked if it’s already been determined which district the county’s 832 precincts will be in during the next election cycle. District 3 Supervisor and board chair Bill Gates said no, that’s the process that’s ongoing.
Gates said he was pleased “word got out” and many of the county’s 4.42 million residents are participating in the online redistricting feedback process.


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