Redistricting Group Wants Guidelines Modified

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Hoping to speed up the redistricting process, the chairman of the Gila County Redistricting Advisory Committee, Roberto Sanchez, is proposing the committee create a couple of study groups.

He would like one group to review proposals for the board of supervisors and the other to look at the suggestions for the community college districts.

At the committee’s May 10 meeting, Sanchez suggested two six-member groups, each with three representatives from northern Gila County and three from southern Gila County.

He would chair the BOS study group and vice chairman Gary Andress would chair the other.

Each group would bring its recommendations for the best plans — those meeting the required principles of redistricting — back to the whole committee for a vote. The required principles are assuring the districts are as equal in population as possible to provide for one person-one vote; and minority voting rights not be harmed.

The guidelines require any action must be approved by nine of the committee’s 12 members.

The process will be advanced by making it unnecessary for the full committee to review all the proposals for redistricting.

Deputy county attorney Bryan Chambers said the committee could not create the study groups of its own accord since its guidelines don’t allow for subcommittees.

It will be necessary to submit to the BOS a proposal to modify the guidelines.

Elections director Linda Eastlick, who is the county staff member facilitating the redistricting process, offered to draft the request for a modification of the guidelines and send it to the committee members for input. Per Chambers’ instructions, any e-mails from members must be sent to Eastlick, not to the other members. She will then, when necessary, send it to the members through the blind carbon copy e-mail program. Using the blind carbon copy function, recipients can only respond to Eastlick with comments, which keeps the committee from violating open meeting laws.

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