Senate Removes IRC Chair

November 11, 2011 by  

The Governor and Senate took decisive action, voting to remove Chairwoman Colleen Mathis of the Independent Redistricting Commission.

Was it right?  YOU decide.

The Big Picture:

Just because the Independent Redistricting Commission is “independent” does not mean it can act independently of the Arizona Constitution.  The IRC is mandated to follow the Arizona Constitution, which lays out the criteria for the maps.

– The IRC has had more than 38 hours of behind closed-door meetings. – There was a time they had as many closed session meetings as open session meetings.

– After these numerous closed-door meetings, the IRC decided to go with a Democratic mapping firm.

– The Congressional map moved in the opposite direction and became less competitive than the existing map.

– The draft maps are blatantly gerrymandered.  They do not respect communities of interest and natural boundaries, nor are they compact, i.e. they are Unconstitutional.

– The IRC used constitutionally forbidden techniques by factoring in incumbent’s residences.

The IRC’s process is blatantly flawed, the current maps are unconstitutional and the IRC should therefore start over with new maps.  Meanwhile, Democrats continue to push for gerrymandered, unconstitutional maps because it favors their future electoral chances.

The draft maps fail to follow constitutional requirements and are clearly gerrymandered.

The Process is Constitutional.

The Governor and the Senate are following the Arizona Constitution that prescribes a process to remove a commissioner(s) if he/she is not following the Constitution.  Democrats seek an unconstitutional solution to the mapping process because it favors them.

Background: Up to June 24 of this year, the IRC held 32.7 hours of closed door meetings with 37.6 hours of documented open session meetings.  They also had two closed e session meetings by phone where we have no idea how long those lasted.

October 3rd, the Monday surprise – Colleen Mathis introduced the map without data to back up her claims nor time to understand what they were voting on, the IRC voted on a map that just so happened to split up two Congressional Republican incumbents through their district through pinpointed mapping techniques. It defies logic that someone was not taking into consideration the residence of incumbents. With the draft maps, incumbents are either protected or disadvantaged based on the Democratic mapping firms’ decision to protect the Democratic incumbents or hurt the Republican incumbents.

Accusations founded? Democrats and some in the media complain this is an unprecedented action by the Legislature. Well yes, it is.  The IRC was created 11 years ago meaning, the only other time they drafted the maps the original IRC followed the Arizona Constitution.  So yes, this is unprecedented.

Some say the Republicans don’t like the draft maps because the safe Republicans seats are now competitive and they “feel” lines were manipulated to favor incumbent Democrats.

In reality, no one (Democrats or Republicans) denies the districts are gerrymandered. The current maps clearly violate the Constitutional requirements.

Senate had to act. The Arizona Constitution prohibits the IRC from gerrymandering the Congressional and Legislative districts and requires the districts to be compact, contiguous, respect communities of interest and respect natural boundaries. And then they are to consider competitiveness.

Therefore, according to the Constitutional measure voters passed which gives the Legislature the authority to remove members based upon unconstitutional actions, the Senate had to act to ensure the Arizona Constitution is followed.

Would you agree?

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