Under Article I, Section 2 of the the U.S. Constitution, states determine how to divide their U.S. House districts after a federal census held every decade. While many states let their state legislatures decide on their redistricting maps, Arizona voters opted in 2000 to entrust the process to an independent redistricting panel. By design, the commission consists of two Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent. Its maps must include districts, drawn from scratch, that are “roughly equal in population.” They are encouraged to also make districts as compact as possible, respectful of the federal Voting Rights Act, respectful of communities of interest, and — if possible — politically competitive.
Though the Congressional maps approved by the commission in 2012 did just that, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and her Republican legislative majorities attempted to remove the independent chairwoman because they found the map too competitive; the state Supreme Court rejected this power grab as illegal.
Determined not to suffer the same fate next time, Roll Call reported Monday, Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham has formed a new committee of GOP election experts to monitor the 2020 redistricting process. And one party strategist told the publication that effort includes attempting to rig the process by finding an independent who will vote with Republicans: “The key to Arizona redistricting is that you need to find an independent who is on your side,” the unnamed consultant said.