State Capitol News
1:22 am
Tue December 11, 2007

Should legislative districts be redrawn?

Phoenix, AZ – Host intro:

The state court of appeals heard arguments today about
whether they should require the legislative district
boundaries to be redrawn. Arizona Public Radio's Howard
Fischer explains what's at issue here.

The fight is over how the Independent Redistricting
Commission interpreted a voter-approved measure which
spells out what they need to consider when forming each
of the 30 districts. Those six factors include
protecting communities of interest and complying with
federal laws. Foes of the plan enacted contend the
commissioners didn't give proper deference to a mandate
to also create as many politically competitive
districts as possible. Commission Chairman Steve Lynn
said the panel did consider competitiveness but did not
consider it as significant as other factors. But Andrea
Minkoff, another commissioner, said her colleagues are
wrong.

(Competitiveness is an important criterion, whether its
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, it is an important criteria. And to
ignore it to the point that the only way you can
address it is to play with the edges of the district I
think is a mistake.)

Hanging in the balance are the lines for the 2008
legislative elections. Challengers believe if the
commission is forced to redraw the boundaries it will
create more districts where Democrats have a chance of
winning, a move that potentially could put that party
in control of the next Legislature.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.