Saturday, September 25, 2021 9:21 pm

Sunday Feature: Redistricting Arizona: Will increasingly politically diverse state remain a GOP stronghold?

Vivian Harte, president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson, speaks about the history of redistricting in Arizona. “2020 is going to be very important,” Harte said, “for fairness.”
/Justin Sayers / Arizona Daily Star

By Justin Sayers | Arizona Daily Star

More than 30 people gathered in a modest room at the Woods Memorial Library in midtown Tucson on a work night in October for a special meeting of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Sitting in card table chairs arranged in a half-circle, they fixed their attention at the open end at the south side of the room and, more specifically, on President Vivian Harte as she rattled through her 30-minute PowerPoint presentation on the future of redistricting in Arizona.

Halfway through, she paused and addressed the nonpartisan group. “2020 is going to be very important,” Harte said, “for fairness.”

More than two months before the calendar flipped, six months before counting for the next U.S. census begins, and two years before the next round of redistricting, Arizona activists, academics and politicians were already gearing up for one of the more important political stretches in the 48th state’s history.

And they’ve specifically turned their eyes toward the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission, established in 2000, which is in charge of drawing Arizona’s new congressional and state legislative maps every 10 years after each census. The next round is slated to wrap up in time for Arizonans to vote in a gubernatorial, Senate and congressional election in 2022.

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