Gila County’s Redistricting Advisory Committee officially accomplished its mission when it handed over maps of voting districts to the board of supervisors at its meeting on Aug. 15.
Now the job of narrowing the field and submitting redistricting maps to the Department of Justice for the Gila County Board of Supervisors and Gila Community College lies with the supervisors and the public.
“Our goal was to submit at least two maps of each district, but we ended up with three,” said Robert Sanchez, chairman of the advisory committee.
“Copies of these maps have gone to the tribal councils, towns, and political parties. We want maps together by the presidential election in January of 2012,” said Linda Eastlick, director of Gila County elections.
Despite a diverse mix of members both racially, politically, and from different geographical areas in the county, the committee found the experience amicable, said member David Prechtel.
Yet the job wasn’t easy. Out of 21 maps submitted for the supervisor districts, 20 did not meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act. The maps for the community college district fell closely within guidelines, said Sanchez.
The committee worked hard with consultants analyzing submitted maps to find acceptable deviations of population and minority voting block numbers to pass DOJ requirements. The committee held 11 meetings from March 22 until July 29, traveling from San Carlos to Pine and Strawberry, reported Sanchez.
At the end of the committee’s presentation, the board of supervisors thanked members and voted to dissolve the committee.
The next redistricting map meeting will be held at the board of supervisors work session in Globe on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m.
For members of the public from northern Gila County, the meeting may be attended at the offices of Supervisor Tommie Martin, 600 E. Highway 260.