In independent commission can draw fair election maps. We proved it in 2011

Arizona State Capitol

Opinion: Arizona’s previous Independent Redistricting Commission was sued five times over our maps. But the last decade has proven that we did our job right.

By Colleen Mathis, opinion contributor

The author and historian David McCullough has often noted that it’s important when reading history to be aware that none of those involved at the time know how the story is going to turn out.

That was certainly the case 10 years ago this week when the Arizona Supreme Court heard arguments in a case brought after I was accused by Gov. Jan Brewer of gross misconduct and substantial neglect of duty in my volunteer role as chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The governor didn’t like our draft voting maps and sought to exploit a provision in the Arizona Constitution that allowed for removal of a commissioner in extraordinary circumstances with Senate concurrence. At the time, there were 21 Republicans and only nine Democrats in the Senate, and that partisan supermajority was enough to ratify her actions in a special session.

Fortunately, in my case, the story turned out well.

Today’s maps better reflect Arizona voters

The Arizona Supreme Court, which then included three Republican justices, two of whom had been appointed by Gov. Brewer herself, and two Democrats, courageously took the case and ruled unanimously within two hours of the hearing.


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November 2021