Redistricting: Bloody Battle, But A Fair Fight

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It’s gonna get bloody. But then, it’s redistricting. What can you expect? Hopefully, this year in return for the inevitable furor and trauma, Arizona voters will get a representative and reasonable system.

Hopefully, it will also produce legislative districts that make sense and don’t chop up Gila County and distribute the fragments among four different state legislative districts.

The Payson Town Council last week unanimously endorsed a plan developed by Friends of District 5, which would leave the district relatively intact by adding about 20,000 residents from the Camp Verde/Verde Valley area.

The resulting district would include all of Gila, Graham and Greenlee counties, plus parts of Navajo County. Republicans would comprise 37 percent of the voters, Democrats 37 percent and Independents about 26 percent.

That plan certainly has a lot going for it — especially when compared to some of the nightmare alternatives that would hopelessly fragment Gila County.

Such a fragmentation would be a political disaster for Gila County, which is already the furry tail on the shaggy dog of District 5.

The voter-created Independent Redistricting Commission will consider the Friends of Gila County’s map along with a bewilderment of alternatives.

Voters created the commission to take the crucial task of district-drawing out of the hands of the majority party in the Legislature. Leaving the job to the politicians has resulted in gerrymandered districts artfully designed to preserve the power of the party doing the line drawing.

We hope that the redistricting commission will base its revision of the District 5 boundaries on the map that has now drawn the unanimous support of both Payson and Star Valley.

No doubt — politics will produce a bloody battle. But with the Friends of District 5 map, it’s at least a fair fight.

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