Phoenix council districts must be redrawn for equal representation

Published: Tuesday, July 4, 2023 - 2:28pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2023 - 11:50am

The city is required by law to adjust council district boundaries every 10 years based on the most recent census data.

While each of Phoenix’s eight districts has added people since the last redistricting, some have gained significantly more. The goal is to make each district’s population as close to 201,017 as possible.

“Whenever we talk about redistricting the first word that anybody may think is ‘gerrymandering.’ So we want to not do that, we want to make sure that our districts are contiguous and that they are compact,” said Priti Mathur, partner at ARCBridge Consulting, the firm hired by Phoenix to manage the process.

District 1 is closest to ideal population at 198,369 while Districts 3, 4 and 6 need to gain between 10,000 and 12,000. Districts 5 and 8 need to lose between 4,000 and 7,000 people while District 7 needs to lose about 17,000.

When redistricting, Mathur said, “We do not want to totally change them. We want to preserve the core.”

Another requirement, she said, is continuity of representation, “We need to make sure that the current incumbents are still in their districts as we draw the new districts.”

Based on census data, Mathur said half of Phoenix’s districts are majority-Hispanic (Districts 4, 5, 7 and 8) and half are majority non-Hispanic white (Districts 1, 2, 3 and 6).

Information on the initial proposals for each district can be found at phoenixredistricting.com/round-1-community-meeting-presentations. Community meetings have been held in each district to show potential changes and comments can be submitted by calling 602-261-8683 or emailing [email protected]  Public input on the proposed plans will be accepted until Aug. 1.

Another round of community meetings will take place in September before Mathur presents one or more final plans to the City Council in late September. Once approved, the new boundaries will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

BusinessPolitics Race + Diversity