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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No third congressional seat, no suprise

    An independent redistricting committee is well into its incredibly difficult task of reshaping the Arizona congressional districts. Although final maps have not been drawn, and aren’t expected to be finished until some time in October, it is already becoming quite clear that Southern Arizona won’t be getting a third seat. Yet again, Southern Arizona will be neglected, and maintained at a mere two congressional seats.

    Now, there is no arguing that redistricting is a difficult task that requires countless hours of careful thought.

    It demands accurate knowledge of the population and an accurate count of the constituents therein. Districts can’t be crammed full of citizens while others are sparsely populated. It becomes pretty evident that if one district has 15,000 people in it, while another has only 5,000, there are about 10,000 people potentially being disenfranchised by unequal representation.

    When drawing lines, there is a demand that competitive districts be created and not gerrymandered to benefit one party or the other. A district can’t be heavily packed with constituents of one party so that they may easily out match their opponents. A good district doesn’t round up all the Republicans in one big district, and spread democrats out over multiple districts either. That would give Democrats the opportunity to get multiple seats, while Republican supporters get only one.

    Furthermore, industries and issues important to the area must also be reflected upon. To even give a representative a chance of being able to represent the people, a district can’t include areas that are inherently opposite. A good district can’t include a massive metropolitan city, and a meager small town. That creates two entirely different demographics to adhere to.

    After considering all of this, it doesn’t take a long look at the congressional map of Arizona to figure out that something fishy is happening. How exactly is a candidate expected to represent the largely conservative small towns of Safford and St. John’s while also adequately representing left-leaning Flagstaff citizens? Even at a glance of the districts, without any knowledge of political inclination of the cities, the map itself just looks and feels like gerrymandering.

    The redistricting plan was the best chance at leveling the playing field in what is an otherwise Phoenix-dominated political field. With all the hype Republicans make about how the citizens on the border are clamoring for reform on the topic of immigration, you would think they would be foaming at the mouth to add a seat down south. Wouldn’t it give the supposedly struggling citizens of Arizona a chance at getting some proper representation to save them from the careless and inactive liberals?

    All we ever hear about is how hard the lives of border citizens are; how their lands are getting invaded by illegal immigrants, and their lives are riddled with problems supposedly directly related to these trespassers. If so, why can’t there be another district? Wouldn’t that give these otherwise forgotten citizens a voice?

    Of course Southern Arizona isn’t getting another seat. Southern Arizona will have to keep playing little brother to the big city up north for the indefinite future. Here’s hoping that the next time redistricting is discussed, Southern Arizona makes the agenda.

    ­_— Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu._

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