A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Preclearance

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Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Colleen Coyle Mathis April 30, 2013

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Colleen Coyle Mathis April 30, 2013

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  • Thank you Dr. Jackson and thanks to Mr.Yepsen and the staff of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and those sponsors who made today possible. I applaud your efforts to bring independent redistricting to Illinois and so it is my hope that nothing I say today will dissuade you from this noble cause. I’m Colleen Mathis and I’m the Chairman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. As a Peoria, IL native, it’s great to be back in the heartland and I’m delighted to see so many of you here, including mother, sister along with brothers and sisters-in-law. I would also like to make the disclaimer that my opinions are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Commission as a whole or the individual commissioners.
  • Application, vetting, interviews, selection
  • So the stage went dark for a couple of weeks as we awaited a hearing date with the Arizona Supreme Court who agreed to hear the case.
  • I am privileged to be represented by excellent counsel both for the commission and individually by Paul Charlton, former US Attorney for the State of Arizona.
  • 4 safe R districts: or 44% of the map compared to 35.4 % R registration2 safe R districts or 22% of the map compared to 30.4 % D registration3 competitive districts or 33.3% of the map compared to 34.2% Independent/Other
  • 4 safe R districts: or 44% of the map compared to 35.4 % R registration2 safe R districts or 22% of the map compared to 30.4 % D registration3 competitive districts or 33.3% of the map compared to 34.2% Independent/Other
  • Nothing quite like a glass vivarium to provide the ultimate in transparency and accountability


  • 1. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way toPreclearanceforPaul Simon Public Policy InstituteColleen Coyle MathisApril 30, 2013
  • 2. AIRC Overview• Creation• Process• Results• Lessons Learned2
  • 3. “In a spasm of good sense…”• Arizona’s redistricting process is governed bythe state Constitution, as amended by voters in2000 with the passage of Proposition 106.• It stipulates that the Arizona IndependentRedistricting Commission redraw Arizona’scongressional and legislative districts to reflectthe results of the most recent census.• Passed with 56% of the vote3
  • 4. Origins of Proposition 1064• A serendipitous combination of champions:– Two non partisan organizations: League of WomenVoters and Common Cause– A native Arizonan with money in the bank whowanted to give back• Goal: A healthy exchange of ideas and bettergovernance• Poll conducted to determine what people reallywant. “Let the People Draw the Lines”• Over 200,000 signatures collected to get Prop106 on the ballot
  • 5. Proposition 106“Relating to ending the practice ofgerrymandering and improving voter andcandidate participation in elections by creatingan independent commission of balancedappointments to oversee the mapping of fairand competitive districts.”5
  • 6. Some Arizona Context• ~ 6.4 million people (3.5 million in Maricopa County)• 2 x the land area of Illinois• 21 Native American reservations (rural and urban)• Growing Hispanic/Latino population ~ 30%• From 2000 to 2010, Arizona added almost 1 million new registeredvoters. Of that, 19% went to Republicans, 18% to Democrats, andnearly 63% chose to be Independents.– Republicans: 35.4 %– Democrats: 30.4 %– Independent/Other: 34.2%6
  • 7. What are the requirements of the StateConstitution via Prop 106?New district boundaries must:A: Comply with the U.S Constitution and the VotingRights ActB: Equal PopulationCriteria A and B are federally mandated.To the extent practicable the districts must be:C: Compact and ContiguousD: Respect communities of interestE: Use visible geographic features, city, town andcounty boundaries, and undivided Census TractsF: Favor competitive districts where no significantdetriment to other goals7
  • 8. A: Voting Rights Act– Arizona is one of 9 states covered as a whole meaningthat its congressional and legislative districts mustreceive preclearance or approval from the Departmentof Justice or a federal court under Section 5. To getpreclearance, Arizona must demonstrate that the newdistricts do not discriminate against minority voters inpurpose or effect, which means there can be nointentional or accidental discrimination.– Under Section 5, Arizonas redistricting plans cannot beretrogressive. The plans cannot weaken or reduceminority voters rights.– The presence of discrimination can be determined byanalyzing population data and election results.8
  • 9. Step 1: Setting up the Commission –Commissioners are appointed following athorough screening process.Timeline9Process
  • 10. ProcessStep 2: First-Round HearingsBefore drawing a single line, the Commissionheld 23 public hearings around the state inJuly and August to get input from the publicabout issues relevant to redistricting such asgeography, communities of interest, minorityvoting rights, and competitiveness.10
  • 11. 29,000+ miles traveled11
  • 12. 12MapsThe AIRC Wants You to Stay ConnectedMaps
  • 13. ProcessStep 3: Mapping –• Start with a clean slate• Then divide the state into equal population in a gridlike pattern -- Grid Maps Approved August 18, 2011.• After adopting the grid maps, the Commission metmore than 25 times to consider adjustments to thegrid to accommodate all of the state constitutionalcriteria. During this time they received additionalpublic comment and draft maps.• Approval of Draft Maps – Occurred on October 3,2011 for the congressional map and October 10 forthe legislative.13
  • 14. Previous Congressional Map14
  • 15. Starting Point – New Congressional Map15
  • 16. New Congressional Grid Map16
  • 17. New Congressional Draft Map17The draft congressionaldistricts included:•Two predominantly ruraldistricts•Three border districts•Three districts in thegreater Tucson region•Five districts that areentirely in Maricopa County•It avoids splitting ArizonasIndian Reservations•Two districts whereminority voters have theopportunity to elect theircandidate of choice
  • 18. ProcessStep 4: Second Round Hearings –• Visited 30 towns and cities all over the stateto share the draft maps and receiveadditional public input during October andNovember 2011.18
  • 19. What does Independent mean?• It means independent from the Legislature.• It does not mean that politics is entirelyremoved from the process19
  • 20. 20
  • 21. 21“After having been served written notice andprovided with an opportunity for response, a memberof the IRC may be removed by the Governor, with theconcurrence of 2/3 of the Senate for:- Substantial neglect of duty- Gross misconduct in office or- Inability to discharge the duties of office.”Supermajority in Senate with 21 R’s and 9D’s in combination with a draft map thesupermajority didn’t like = Removal of ChairThe Perfect Storm…
  • 22. 22November 17, 2011Reinstatement by Arizona Supreme Court
  • 23. 23Step 5: Final Maps• Upon completion of the public comment period, theAIRC adopted tentative final maps December 21,2011 and final maps January 17, 2012.Step 6: Preclearance• The Congressional map was precleared April 9, 2012and the legislative map on April 26, 2012.
  • 24. Sweet Relief24
  • 25. Precleared New Congressional Final Map25Features:• Four Republican leaningdistricts (44% of map vs.35.4% R registration; twoVoting Rights Districts (22%of map vs. 30.4% Dregistration) whereminority voters have theopportunity to elect thecandidate of their choice;three competitive districts(33% of map compared to34.2% Ind/Otherregistration).•Two predominantly ruraldistricts•Three districts in thegreater Tucson region•Avoids splitting ArizonasNative AmericanReservations
  • 26. Pre-cleared New Congressional Final Map26
  • 27. New Legislative Final Map27
  • 28. Results• Public had numerous opportunities andmethods to engage:– 58 business meetings– 43 public hearings– 5364 in attendance; more than 1800 via internet– 2350 requests to speak– 7403 pieces of public input– 224 maps submitted28
  • 29. 2012 Election Results• Congressional:– 4 safe R seats; 2 safe D seats and 3 competitive• Democrats swept all 3 competitive seats with one racetaking almost two weeks to call (2454 vote difference).• 2 of the competitive seats have been designated asmost likely to flip in 2014 (CD 1 and CD 2)• In 2008, the Arizona delegation was 5D and 3R.• Legislative:– Senate: 17 R’s and 13 D’s won seats– House: 36 R’s and 24 D’s29
  • 30. More Results• First time Arizona has ever receivedpreclearance on both maps on first try.• Center for Public Integrity conducted a stateintegrity investigation and rated all 50 statesin 14 areas, one of which was redistricting,for which Arizona received an A, our onlyone. (source: stateintegrity.org)• Independent redistricting is preserved…sofar.30
  • 31. Litigation Happens!• Shelby County vs. Holder (Constitutionality ofVRA) Awaiting US Supreme Court decision• 3 Pending Arizona Lawsuits:– Leach, et.al. vs. AIRC (challenging Congressionaldistricts in state court)– Harris, et.al. vs. AIRC (challenging legislativedistricts in federal court) (Trial ended 3/29/13).Awaiting decision from 3 judge panel.– Arizona State Legislature vs. AIRC (assignment oftask to redraw Congressional districts is solepurview of Legislature)• Continue defending maps as necessary31
  • 32. Lessons Learned• Importance of shielding commission fromoutside partisan forces• Striking the balance between flexibility andconstraint• Having a healthy and courageous 3rd branch ofgovernment and fourth estate• Legislative privilege/immunity; independentprocurement; funding; oversight32
  • 33. A potential solution?33redistricting
  • 34. Transparency, Accountability…34
  • 35. Are there adjustments to IRC’scomposition that make sense?Having the commission more closely reflect theelectorate– Larger?– Geographic– Partisan – The Rise of the Independent• 2000: 43% R / 38% D/ 18% Other• 2010: 36% R/ 32% D/ 32% Other– Racial/ethnic – Hispanic Example• 2000: 1,295,617• 2010: 1,895,149 – 46.3% increase– Gender35
  • 36. If you want a friend in Washington,get a dog.~ Harry Truman36redistrictingColleen Mathis
  • 37. 37Thank you …for your interest inindependentredistricting!(You’ve got a friendin Arizona…)
  • 38. Mapping38
  • 39. New Legislative Final Map39Features:Population growth and reduction:Old districts -- 155,897 to 378,298Current draft -- 203,026 to 221,735• To comply with the Voting Rights Act,the plan includes ten districts in whichminority voters should have theopportunity to elect their candidateof choice.• Three districts wholly within PimaCounty (districts 3, 9 and 10) andthree additional southern Arizonadistricts (1, 2 and 4)• 17 districts primarily within MaricopaCounty (12, 15-30)• 9 districts primarily rural (1, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 11, 13, 14)
  • 40. Dynamics40
  • 41. Lessons Learned41
  • 42. 42
  • 43. 43
  • 44. 44
  • 45. Now, there are three Congressionaldistricts in Greater Tucson45
  • 46. Arizona is special!• One of only six states that assigns the task ofredistricting to an independent commission.– Alaska– Arizona– California– Idaho– Montana– Washington46
  • 47. IRC Related Legislative Activity• SCR 1035 – Eliminate IRC byrepealing constitutionalprovisions• SB 1489 – Increase scope of IRCto redistrict counties, cities.•• HR 2005 – Propose the House ofRepresentatives alternativeredistricting plans forcongressional and legislativedistricts.• HB 2807 –Expands the definitionof public body as it relates toopen meeting laws.– Signed by Governor on March29, 2012.• HCR 2051/2052/2053 –Proposing an amendment to theConstitution of Arizona;amending Article IV, Part 2,Section 1, Constitution ofArizona; relating to theIndependent redistrictingcommission relating tomembership, qualifications, lines• HB 2710 – Providing for a specialelection for the purpose of votingon amendments to theConstitution of Arizona relating tocongressional and legislativedistrict boundaries.47
  • 48. Previous Legislative Map48
  • 49. Starting Point – New Legislative Map49
  • 50. New Legislative Grid Map50
  • 51. New Legislative Draft Map51The draft legislative districts included:•Population growth and reduction:Old districts -- about 155,000 to 378,000Current draft -- about 207,000 to 215,000•To comply with the Voting Rights Act, thedraft plan included ten districts in whichminority voters should have theopportunity to elect their candidate ofchoice.• Three districts wholly within Pima County(districts 3, 9 and 10) and three additionalsouthern Arizona districts (1, 2 and 4)• 17 districts primarily within MaricopaCounty (12, 15-30)• 9 districts primarily rural (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,11, 13, 14)