September 14, 2021 / Modified sep 14, 2021 4:47 p.m.

Commission adopts maps as 'starting point' for redrawing Arizona's congressional, legislative districts

Redistricting commission will hold hearings on the maps in coming weeks.

360 cap dome 2021 A view of the dome atop the Arizona Capitol Museum at the State Capitol in Phoenix. January 2021.
AZPM Staff

Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission got the first versions of maps for the state's future congressional and legislative districts on Tuesday.

Created by the commission's consultants, the maps start the redistricting process from scratch, splitting the state into nine congressional districts and 30 legislative districts with almost exactly the same number of residents.

congressional redistricting grid map VIEW LARGER The "grid map" the Independent Redistricting Commission adopted Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 as a starting point for drawing new congressional districts.
Independent Redistricting Commission

Based on the 2020 census, each congressional district has about 794,611 residents to start and each legislative district has about 238,383 residents.

But the maps are just a starting point and are not designed to take into consideration a range of other issues that are part of redistricting, such as the boundaries of towns and tribal lands.

For example, the maps unveiled Tuesday would split Tucson into two congressional districts, with one stretching from around Grant Road to Oro Valley, Saddlebrooke and north to Queen Creek.

The maps also put Apache County in one legislative district and most of Navajo County in another, splitting the Navajo Nation.

"When you see these lines, these are arbitrary starting point lines," Erika Neuberg, chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission, told members on Tuesday.

The bipartisan commission voted unanimously to adopt the maps — known as "grid maps" — to start the redistricting process.

legislative redistricting grid map VIEW LARGER The "grid map" the Independent Redistricting Commission adopted Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 as a starting point for drawing new legislative districts.
Independent Redistricting Commission

The commission will spend the next several weeks taking suggestions from the public and considering ways to redraw the maps.

And the next draft may include greater variations in population, up to around 5%.

The final version of the maps will be used in the 2022 elections and shape the state's political landscape for the next decade.

Arizonans can design their own congressional and legislative districts on the commission's website.

The commission has also scheduled several hearings in the coming weeks, with satellite hearings September 23 in Sierra Vista and September 29 in Tucson.

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