After nearly 18 hours of marathon meetings over two days, the five volunteers tasked with redrawing Arizona’s political boundaries cast their votes on a new legislative map and marked the end of one of the most tumultuous political battles the state has ever seen.
The fight surrounding the Independent Redistricting Commission and its work included allegations of bid-rigging, conspiracy and back-room shenanigans, and ultimately led the governor and the Senate to take the unprecedented step of removing the commission’s chairwoman — only to see the Arizona Supreme Court reverse the move days later.
The conclusion of the redistricting process, shortly after 9 p.m. on Dec. 20, marks the beginning of another type of political fight, however, as candidates can now pull the trigger on campaign plans for 2012.
After holding their collective breaths over the hard-to-underestimate impact redrawn political lines bring, some politicos are finally able to exhale, satisfied with the fortunes promised in the new maps. Others, meanwhile, are shaking their heads at what they see.
And although it closes the most significant chapter of the redistricting process, new fights over the maps will soon begin, as lawsuits emerge from those who are dissatisfied and feel they can bring strong legal challenges to how the maps were drawn.
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