The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved Gila County redistricting maps.
T. Christian Herren, the chief of the voting section of the civil rights division at DOJ has informed Gila County Elections Director Linda Eastlick, the new redistricting maps did not violate the majority-minority voting percentages mandated by the Civil Rights Act or the population requirements of the Constitution.
“It was a huge process and we’re glad it’s over,” said Eastlick.
Herren did caution Eastlick, however, that approval did not prevent future objections to the redistricting maps from other groups, but Eastlick feels confident no issues will arise.
“We’ve never had anything come back once approved,” she said.
The DOJ had 60 days to plow through the pile of paperwork given to it by the elections department to approve the redistricting maps of the supervisor and community college voting districts. It took DOJ 58 days to complete its review.
The letter from DOJ culminates months of effort by Gila County to gather information from residents, consultants, and a committee of community members. The county submitted all meeting minutes and agendas; handouts, public comments and map drawings in English and Spanish were sent as submissions to the DOJ.
The Gila County recorder’s office will now print new voting registration cards to mail out in May. With voting boundaries shifting, voters will move into new precincts and candidates will need to know where they may gather signatures for their races.
Some precincts will be combined with others, and some polling locations will consolidate.
In northern Gila County, the only major precinct change will happen in Pine. Highway 87 will now divide Pine-Strawberry West and Pine-Strawberry East. The polling place for both precincts will remain at the First Baptist Church of Pine.
The remainder of precinct and polling changes occur in the southern part of the county.
If anyone has questions about where to vote, please call the Gila County recorder’s office at (928) 425-3231. For candidates, the Gila Elections Department has packets available. For any questions on campaigning, please call the elections department at (928) 402-8709.