Republican state lawmakers are pushing a November ballot proposition that would ask voters to overhaul the panel that draws Arizona’s political boundaries — a move that could affect which party holds power at the state Capitol. The proposition would also give state legislators the authority to potentially sketch their own district boundaries, as well as those of Arizona’s members of Congress. Supporters said the proposal is intended to make the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission — a bipartisan panel that was created to take that power away from the Legislature — larger and, thereby, more bipartisan. But Democrats and voter-advocacy groups say it’s a veiled attempt to dismantle the commission and let state lawmakers pick their voters through gerrymandering.
On Wednesday, the state Senate’s Government Committee voted, 4-3, along partisan lines, to advance the proposal, which faces a standard legal review before a vote in the full Senate.
The commission was created in 2001, through a voter-approved amendment to the state Constitution, so any changes would require a vote of the people. It draws new district lines for Congress and the Legislature every 10 years, after population shifts shown in the U.S. Census.