Talk of redistricting continues in Winslow

WINSLOW, Ariz. - Held in the Winslow City Council Chambers on Aug. 22, the second, and last expected update from the Navajo County Redistricting Committee was held. Representing the county were Marlin Gillespie for JR DeSpain, County Attorney Jason Moore, Ryan Taylor of the Navajo County Planning and Zoning and Secretary Veronica Dale.

The Redistricting Committee presented five maps as possible solutions to Navajo County's legal responsibility to reapportion as required after every Census. All five plans meet the legal criteria and Winslow's request to not be split in two districts as currently devised. Also, all five plans do well in keeping the Hopi Nation in one County district except for a very small portion on the east side of Hopi. Due to the legal requirements of State and Federal laws, it is not possible to place the entire Hopi Nation in one district. But the small part outside of Hopi is very small - as small as possible. Regarding Hopi, Ken Evans said that the villages do not recognize the authority of the Hopi Council, which presents some complications in obtaining backing from the Hopi Tribe on the redistricting boundaries.

The proposed District 4 and 5 plans are very similar to the configurations. It's mainly Districts 1, 2 and 3 have to be stretched southward including more population to make them more equal to Districts 4 and 5. There is a firm hired as consultants to the County, which is in the business offine-tuning the proposed redistricting maps. They massage the maps at the voting precinct level to make then proper and legal.

Mayor Boyd's plan numbered "RB06" is one of the five plans accepted by the Redistricting Committee and meets all legal requirements. In addition, Mayor Boyd's plan take is an area south of Winslow, which is more akin to the Winslow area in general. Mayor Boyd also said that in following the guidelines there really are very few options available, so what we see on the five layouts selected by the County Redistricting Commission, is pretty much all the variations we can use.

Councilman Tom Chacon was especially concerned that the Hispanic and Native American voters receive fair treatment. However, the legal requirements placed on Navajo County insure fair treatment to all people.

Sometime around Nov. 1, the County must submit a final District plan for its next 10 years. The plan must meet State and Federal guidelines to be approved.

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