The fight continues to protect Arizona's voter-approved independent redistricting process from being taken over by politicians. The state Senate advanced SCR 1034, the measure that would put more power to manipulate voting maps into the hands of partisan leaders at the State Capitol, by a party-line vote of 17-13 last week.
The lengthy Senate debate was really something to see, and you can watch it here. Skip to 1:03:23 to hear Senate President Yarbrough, the sponsor of SCR 1034, refer to our own Joel Edman as a "very articulate young man."
Sadly, the process continues to be hyper-partisan, unbefitting of a debate on how to draw the fundamental building blocks of democracy.
For example, President Yarbrough pushed an important floor amendment. As Sen. Martin Quezada pointed out on Twitter, Yarbrough had kept his amendment language secret for over a week, only sharing it with his Democratic colleagues a few hours before the vote.
When Sen. Katie Hobbs asked President Yarbrough why he'd kept his amendment secret for so long, he replied "my efforts to be bipartisan are perhaps not well-developed."
It only got worse from there, with Sen. Sylvia Allen complaining that some of her northern Arizona neighbors are represented by Democrats (the horror!!!).
Keeping these kind of partisan motives and behaviors out of the critical redistricting process is precisely why Arizona voters created the Independent Redistricting Commission in the first place. Our system is known across the nation as a model for independence, bipartisanship, and most importantly, fairness.
A fair process that creates fair maps means every Arizonan has a voice. When politicians get control of the process, fairness is the first thing that goes out the window. We can't let that happen.