Opposition Growing to Suits Against Redistricting Maps

May 9, 2012

Election officials from around the state are lining up to oppose a bid by a Republican group to force new lines to be drawn for this year's legislative races. 

Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne, who is leading the way, said the issue is not political. She said it does not matter to her who runs where and takes no position on the charge by foes of the work of the Independent Redistricting Commission that the maps are biased against Republicans. Osborne said the problem is that her county just got done redrawing its 1,142 voting precincts down to 724 and getting them to match legislative district lines. She said if the court is going to make any changes they should take effect for the 2014 election. Coconino County Recorder Candace Owens said she supports what Osborne is doing.

"That would be chaos, for everyone," she said. "Of course Maricopa being the largest county and Pima. But it would still be difficult for small counties. I mean, what would they say? I mean, there's some new congressional districts. So it's a good move. We would support Maricopa in their endeavor."

Cochise County Recorder Christine Rhodes was blunter about the issue.

"I could say the same thing: Don't screw with anything this year," she said. "We would prefer the lines that are left the way they are."

It will be up to a panel of three judges whether to intercede and, if so, whether to act now or wait.