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Letter to the Editor: 'Competitive districts help produce good government'

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This month is our last chance to influence the drawing of electoral districts that will affect our choices of candidates and our voting power over the next decade. The Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) is gathering feedback on their draft maps of both congressional and legislative districts, and here in northern Arizona the draft maps would drastically change our political context.

In particular our rural Congressional District 1 (CD1) would be altered to join Flagstaff, the Navajo Nation and other northern and eastern tribal lands, and all of Yavapai County into a single district (CD 2 in the draft map). The outcome, as detailed in the statistics the IRC has compiled on its draft districts, would change our CD from one of the nation’s very most competitive districts (that is, one where either Republican or Democratic candidates might win) to a very one-sided, “safe” Republican district.

Competitive districts help produce good government. More diverse candidates are encouraged to run, and they work harder to reach out to voters. Elected officials work hard to stay in touch with constituents with town halls, newsletters, social media and public appearances. Finally, the Arizona Constitution identifies the creation of fair and competitive districts as the overall purpose of the IRC.

The proposed CD2 would essentially drown out the voices of the Navajo Nation, the Hopi tribe and other northern Native Americans. And it would change our current district from one where Democrats, Republicans, and Independent voters all have influence to one where only the Republican primary would shape the outcome. I urge all my northern Arizona neighbors to look at the draft CD maps on the IRC’s website and to submit public comments before Nov. 30. We all deserve having our votes count!




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