It is the beginning of the end for the Arizona redistricting drama that has put Congressional races in the state in limbo.
The state Independent Redistricting Commission, the bipartisan group tasked with redrawing the state’s Congressional lines, passed a map this evening. It is “pending analyses by the panel’s legal counsel and voting-rights consultants,” according to a news release from the commission.
The map will then have to be submitted to the Justice Department for pre-clearance approval.
The vote fell along party lines. Five members constitute the commission: two from each party and a registered Independent named Colleen Mathis. The two Democrats voted for the map, the two Republicans voted against it, and Mathis served as the swing vote for passage.
“This is a significant step toward fulfilling our mission,” Mathis said in a statement. “We worked very hard to reach consensus on the map where possible, and it was also our consensus that it was time to move the process along.”
Arizona’s redistricting was one of the nastiest in the reapportionment cycle and caught national attention in early November.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.