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Az redistricting 'listening tour' coming to Tucson - remotely

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will hold a public hearing session for the Grid Map Listening Tour  at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, with a satellite location at the Tucson Convention Center. The meeting will also be available to watch via live stream.

The tour is the third round of statewide public hearings to solicit comments from the public about the redistricting process, communities of interest and the redrawing of voting districts, which determine what district a resident will vote in for representation in the U.S. Congress and the Arizona Legislature.

The public hearing sessions are the next step in the redistricting process, allowing interested members of the public to submit their own maps and to comment publicly to the commission regarding communities of interest and the restricting criteria used in development of the new congressional and legislative maps.

The AIRC defines a community of interest as "a geographic area comprised of people who have common social or economic interests, shared characteristics or experiences, similar issues or impacts of government policies, or otherwise identify as a geographic area with a shared benefit from being kept undivided in a single district."

Based on 2020 Census data, the AIRC adopted grid maps on Sept. 14, creating nine congressional districts and 30 legislative districts as a starting point for redistricting efforts.

Grid maps are "the constitutionally mandated starting point in Arizona’s redistricting process," according to the AIRC. "This is to ensure that each Independent Redistricting Commission starts from scratch rather than simply modifying existing districts." As a starting point in the redistricting effort, grid maps reflect only two of the six criteria the commissioners are required to consider: equal population and compactness/contiguousness.

The redistricting commission is required by Proposition 106, enacted by Arizona voters in 2000, to consider six criteria when adopting new district maps: equal population, compactness and contiguousness; compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act; respect for communities of interest; incorporation of visible geographic features, including city, town and county boundaries, as well as undivided census tracts; and creation of competitive districts where there is no significant detriment to other goals.

The commission will use the information gathered from the continuing public hearings to modify the maps in order to comply with the remaining criteria.

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Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission