Senate seeks to limit redistricting commission’s ability to shape legislative boundaries

Justice Breyer with opinion in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
/Art Lien

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

State senators voted Monday to limit the leeway of the Independent Redistricting Commission to draw legislative boundaries despite claims it could illegally harm the ability of minorities to elect lawmakers of their choice.

SCR 1018 would say that the population differences between the largest and smallest legislative districts created could be no more than 5,000. That’s about a 2.3% difference in population between the largest and smallest districts.

By contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 2016 ruling, upheld district lines with up to a 10% differential in population, or about 25,000 in districts that after the census, are each expected to have more than 240,000 residents.

The problem with that, according to Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, is that commission members stuffed Republicans into districts that already had Republican majorities, making them overpopulated. And the result, he said, is residents of those overpopulated districts effectively have less political strength.

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