Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the IRC’s “Grid Map”

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission released a “Grid Map” earlier this month. You can view the map here.

Here at Fair Maps Arizona we have been inundated with questions about the grid map and what it means for our state. The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions.

  • Why did the commission create a grid map?
    • The commission is required to start drawing congressional and state legislative districts from scratch. They cannot use previous maps as a starting point. To meet the legal requirement that they start from scratch, the commission creates the grid map only taking into account population and nothing else. The grid map is simply a starting point, and is intentionally designed to be extensively revised.
  • How was the grid map created?
    • The grid map was created by finding the population center of Arizona, dividing the state into four quadrants, then creating the first district by expanding outward equally until hitting the required population number (794,611 for congressional, 238,383 for state legislative). Once the population requirement has been satisfied, the next district is created in that same manner.
  • What data does the mapmaker use to create a grid map?
    • The grid map is created using population data only. It is a map with no names. The mapmakers do not use cities, towns, counties or any other information. They are drawing the map completely blind – with only population data to use as a guide. That is why the district shapes are random and do not take into account communities of interest.
  • Did the 2011 commission create a grid map?
    • Yes, in fact the 2011 commission created two different grid maps. They also created several different “What If” grid maps that showed different ways the grid map could be drawn. You can view the two adopted grid maps below, and the rest of the grid maps at the 2011 commission’s archived website.
  • Why do the 2011 commission’s grid maps look nothing like the final district maps they created?
    • Because the grid map is an arbitrary starting point and is designed to be revised. As you can see, both of the 2011 commission’s grid maps look nothing like the district maps they eventually produced. The same will be true for the 2021 commission. The grid map the current commission has produced, and the eventual final map they will produce, will look very, very different.
  • Why doesn’t the grid map reflect my community of interest testimony?
    • The commission has not yet input data from the community of interest hearings they held this summer.
  • Is the grid map a draft map?
    • No, the grid map is not a draft map. The commission has not yet begun drafting maps.
  • Why is the commission holding hearings on their grid map?
  • If I testified in July/August, do I need to attend a grid map hearing?
    • No, if you have already testified on your community of interest, there is no need to attend one of these grid map hearings.
  • What’s next?
    • Now that the IRC has produced a grid map, they can begin making changes to it based on the community of interest testimony that was provided during their listening tour this summer. The commission will begin drafting maps on October 4th, and will release a draft map on October 21st. That will only be the first of many draft maps, and the commission will be holding weeks of public hearings to get further comment later this fall.

If you any additional questions, please feel free to email our Statewide Director Jay Wilson at jay@fairmapsarizona.org.

Also, if you have not already, make sure to sign up for our email list so we can keep you informed of the commission’s proceedings.