Q. All the commissioners are from the Phoenix or Tucson areas. Why is there none from a rural area?
A. Because the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) goes out of business between redistricting cycles, the next set of commissioners must be chosen by someone else. The Arizona Constitution directs the state Commission on Appellate Court Appointments to solicit and review applications from the public and nominate 25 people – 10 Republicans, 10 Democrats and five independents.
This time around, only 11 of 79 applications came from outside of Maricopa and Pima counties: two each from Navajo and Pinal counties; one each from Mohave, Santa Cruz, Graham, Cochise, Coconino, Yavapai and Yuma counties; and none from Apache, Gila, Greenlee or La Paz county.
After reviewing the applications, the appointing panel nominated only three candidates from rural counties, all Democrats – one each from Coconino, Navajo and Yuma counties.
From the 25 nominees, two from each party are selected for the commission by the party leaders in each legislative chamber. No more than two of those four can be residents of the same county. Those four then choose one of the nominated independents to serve as chairman.
In 2010, the parties each chose one member from Maricopa County and one from Pima County. Those four then selected an independent from Pima County to lead the commission.