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IRC wants to finalize maps by Thanksgiving

Commission chair Colleen Mathis, middle, pours over possible congressional redistricting maps as she is flanked by commissioners Linda McNulty, left, and commission vice chair, Scott Freeman during an Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission meeting Monday, Oct. 3, 2011, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Lawmakers, members of Congress and would-be candidates will only have to wait another five weeks or so to get a final answer on their districts, if the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission’s plan comes to fruition.

Commission spokesman Stuart Robinson said the IRC plans to have its final map approved and submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice by Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 24.

The commission is in the midst of its second round of public hearings to get input on its congressional and legislative draft maps. The final meeting will be on Nov. 5 in Green Valley.

“Hopefully there’s enough elasticity in the calendar there that they can get their final tweaks done in those two and a half weeks and still have that completed by Thanksgiving,” Robinson said. “There’s no deadline in stone, but that’s the generally expected deadline at this point.

The first IRC took about a month and a half to complete the last phase of the map-drawing process, approving its draft maps on Aug. 17, 2001, and submitting voting on its final map on Nov. 9.

But the current commission is running behind its predecessor, and didn’t approve its final draft map until Oct. 10. Once it submits its maps to DOJ – Arizona is one of a handful of states that must get redistricting plans approved by the feds – the department has 60 to 90 days to approve or reject the maps.

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