Arizona scored above average nationally for a transparent and inclusive process, but still has room for improvement
PHOENIX — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group in the nation, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Arizona scored slightly above average compared to other states across the nation: a B-. The report found the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) produced an overall fairly accessible, and participatory process. Despite the pandemic, the AIRC conducted a 17-day tour with 15 public hearings and collected 910 public submissions. In particular, the report highlights how Arizona can further improve its redistricting process. By lowering barriers for low-income and immigrant communities to participate and by creating guardrails that ensure that the AIRC is truly independent from partisan politics, Arizona can ensure that redistricting works for all of the state’s diverse communities.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state-level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting is only successful when the people have influence over our own voting districts,” said Jenny Guzman, Common Cause Arizona’s program director. “Redistricting determines the kind of leaders we elect, and how well they represent our views down at the capitol in Phoenix or in Washington. While Arizona did a good job engaging the public and recognizing our communities, there is still more work to be done. We must go further to ensure that moving forward, Arizona has a fully, politically independent redistricting commission determining our district maps.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.