Tuesday, September 17, 2019

New Report Highlights AZ as Model for Redistricting Reform Nationwide

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, a Research Center at Harvard Kennedy School released The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission: One State’s Model for Gerrymandering Reform, a new Report Detailing the Lessons Learned from Arizona’s Innovative Approach to Legislative Redistricting.

The Report’s Authors, Colleen Mathis, the current Chair of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC); Daniel Moskowitz, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy; and Benjamin Schneer, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Ash Center Faculty Affiliate, argue that Independent Redistricting Commissions such as Arizona’s have been Successful at fostering Increased Competition in Individual Legislative Districts and promoting Partisan Fairness in the State as a whole.

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances Excellence and Innovation in Governance and Public Policy through Research, Education, and Public Discussion. By Training the very Best Leaders, Developing Powerful New Ideas, and Disseminating Innovative Solutions and Institutional Reforms, the Center’s Goal is to meet the Profound Challenges facing the World’s Citizens. The Ford Foundation is a Founding Donor of the Center.

Drawing District Boundaries is a Contentious, Difficult Exercise.

An Independent Redistricting Commission can Never Satisfy All of the Interests all of the time. Aligning Districting Criteria such as:

- Equal Population

- Compactness

- Communities of Interest

- Administrative Boundaries

- Competitiveness with Legal Requirements and Provisions of the Voting Rights Act

This is a Complex Balancing Act.

Despite the inherent Complexity, the Arizona Congressional District Map, as evidenced in this Analysis as well as in Electoral Outcomes from the 2012 to 2018 Elections, exhibits Healthy Competitiveness in Three of its Nine Districts while also Complying with the Numerous, and often Competing Constitutional Criteria.

The Map also Reflects the Principle of Partisan Fairness in the Elections held to date. At the same time, Independent Redistricting cannot Cure all the Ills that threaten a Healthy and Functional Democratic System.

Nor can it Change Inherent Characteristics of a given Population such as where Individuals choose to Live.

The Geographic Clustering of like-minded People of: Similar Age, Ideology, Ethnicity, etc., Presents an Ongoing Challenge to Achieving and Maintaining Competitive Districts.

Despite these Limitations, the Report concludes Most Citizens would Prefer that a Multi-Partisan Commission, Independent of the Legislature, Draw Political Boundaries. To do otherwise means Forfeiting this Crucial Responsibility to Incumbent Politicians and, as History has shown, this often leaves Voters without Meaningful Choices at the Ballot Box.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

No comments: