Pinal County Redistricting 2022 – It is important to Maricopa

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Pinal County is currently going through a redistricting process to evaluate whether to modify current county districts. It’s important to understand why this is so important to the City of Maricopa and its residents and businesses!

The current proposals for redistricting have changed extraordinarily little. Not much effort was put into these proposals. The county supervisors need to receive more input for sure.

Why?

Regarding District 4, which is where Maricopa is located, the current proposals completely ignore three very key points, Compactness, Preservation of political subdivisions and Preservation of communities of interest of their own Guiding Policies and Principles stated below and far too much importance on the avoidance of pairing incumbents.

Regarding District 4, the current proposals completely ignore two very key points of their own Guiding Policies and Principles.

Guiding Policies & Principles:

  • Representation: Electoral maps must follow the principle of “one person, one vote,” in which each district has a substantially similar number of people.
  • Compactness: There should be a minimum distance between all the parts of a constituency, for example a circle, square or a hexagon is the most compact district.
  • Contiguity: All parts of a district must be connected at some point with the rest of the district.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions: City or town boundaries should be considered when drawing districts to avoid splitting communities.
  • Preservation of communities of interest: Geographical features and areas, such as neighborhoods or unincorporated communities where the residents have common interests, should be considered when drawing districts and kept intact.
  • Preservation of cores of prior districts: To preserve continuity of representation and to the extent possible, efforts should be made to maintain the core of the districts as previously drawn.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents: Electoral maps should strive to avoid creating districts that would create contests between incumbents.
  • Favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, candidate, or party is prohibited. District lines should not intentionally or unduly favor a person or individual political group.
  • Competitiveness: The Arizona constitution states that “to the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.” This criterion typically seeks to avoid the creation of “safe” districts for a particular party.

It is vital for the best representation for the City of Maricopa residents and businesses that District 4 is reduced in overall distance, but more importantly that evaluating communities of common interest is strongly considered. For many reasons, the City of Maricopa has many huge differences in comparison to the Saddlebrooke community in the far southeast section of District 4. The City of Maricopa is an incorporated city and has a need for focus on transportation (as an example) as we all know. Saddlebrooke is not an incorporated city and doesn’t have the same interests. It’s incredibly challenging for a county supervisor to represent such opposing interests.

The third principle that must be improved in these proposals is Preservation of political subdivisions where city or town boundaries should be considered when drawing districts to avoid splitting communities.  They currently have Tortosa in District 3 which is primarily Casa Grande. That’s just completely unacceptable!

Precinct 30 split [Pinal County]
Based on conversations I’ve had with county representatives; the supervisors were instructed to attempt to not impact incumbent territory. I completely disagree with this being a concerning point in redistricting. When the state redistricting committee met for modifying congressional and legislative districts, they didn’t put any emphasis on incumbents. Incumbent status should not be considered at all.

Lastly, when I attended a discussion on Pinal County redistricting during a County Supervisor meeting, one of their experts suggested that significantly growing communities, such as the City of Maricopa, should have room for growth calculated into the population division for districts and should end up with an average deviation below zero. In both current proposals, District 4 is already the highest population and the highest percentage over the average deviation. That leaves no room for huge growth with the best representation.

Please get involved by attending the open meeting:

Monday, Feb. 7, County Complex, 19955 N Wilson Ave, Maricopa

OR

Provide feedback at: https://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/bos/Pages/Redistricting2022.aspx

Nancy Smith serves on Maricopa City Council