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Last Arizona redistricting public hearing set for Saturday in Tucson

Tucson-area residents will get one last chance to weigh in on draft congressional and legislative maps during a Saturday public hearing of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The commission is wrapping up its solicitation of public opinions about new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts that will outline the state’s political representation for the next decade.

Commissioners will host a meeting to get the public’s thoughts Saturday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m., at the Four Points Sheraton, 7060 S. Tucson Blvd.

A series of redistricting meetings will continue throughout December, but Saturday's hearing is the last one at which the IRC will listen to public input.

The commission’s maps will take effect for the 2022 elections. States are required to redraw these lines every 10 years based on the U.S. Census.

In 1998, voters approved the establishment of the AIRC in an effort to take the Arizona Legislature out of the redistricting process.

The politics remain sticky. Democrats want to expand the number of competitive districts in the Legislature after 55 years of nearly unbroken Republican control. Republicans are seeking to protect their majorities by demanding communities of interest be primary represented, and far less concerned with competitiveness.

Republicans have also been arguing against splitting Tucson into multiple districts, which gives the city political dominance over Southern Arizona elections.

The draft map would create three safe Republican congressional districts and two safe Democratic districts. Four others would be competitive.

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Proposed new Southern Arizona legislative districts could decide the region's representation for the next decade.