Release: GOP Firm with Long Trail of Gerrymandered, Court-Rejected Maps Attempt Back-door Application to Arizona IRC
PHOENIX – Today the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will interview the three firms which submitted proposals to be the 2021 IRC mapping consultant. Although not named as the primary firm on the proposal, reporting has confirmed that controversial mapping firm National Demographics Corporation is the second partner listed on the proposal submitted by Timmons Group, a construction engineering company.
In recent years National Demographics Corporation and its President Doug Johnson have been at the center of several gerrymandering court cases. The long list of NDC’s rejected maps and analyses includes, but is not limited to:
- Common Cause v Lewis: In 2019, Doug Johnson’s testimony in defense of an extreme partisan-gerrymandered map was thrown out by a 3-judge panel, following the discovery of late GOP mapmaker Thomas Hofeller’s personal hard drives.
- “[Hofeller] used racial data and completed much of his [mapping] work before the legislature ever approved the rules he was supposedly bound by…”
- “Johnson had testified for [Republican lawmakers] that Hofeller’s personal maps were not actually all that similar to the maps the legislature ultimately approved.” Later, under cross-examination, “Johnson admitted to several errors” including “an admission to his analysis left out 11 districts that had the exact same shape in both Hofeller’s personal files and in the maps that were ultimately adopted by the legislature.” [The News & Observer, 2019]
- In their ruling, the judges labeled Doug Johnson’s testimony “not credible” and “unpersuasive,” stating that the Court “gives his opinions little weight.” [Judgement from Superior Court in North Carolina]
- Luna v Kern County: In this landmark 2018 voting rights case, a US District Court Judge ruled that the redistricting plan defended by Doug Johnson unlawfully denied Latinos the ability to elect candidates of their choice. The Judge deemed Johnson’s testimony and data to be “insufficient.”
- In a December 2020 letter to the Santa Barbara Redistricting Commission, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara vehemently opposed the Commission’s selection of NDC at the demographer, pointing to multiple cases in which NDC “fought empowerment of the Latino community in California”:
- NDC and Johnson’s trail of discarded maps also extends to Arizona.
- As the mapping consultant to the first Arizona IRC in 2001, NDC produced two legislative maps that were later thrown out. The 2002 map was rejected by the US Department of Justice for failing to comply with the Voting Rights Act, and the 2004 map was thrown out after it was ruled unconstitutional.
- In 2011, previous IRC Vice Chair Andi Minkoff testified that the 2001 Commission was “manipulated” by NDC into drawing non-competitive maps.
Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie Fisher released the following statement:
“The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is tasked not only with drawing our next set of congressional and legislative maps, but also with upholding and maintaining the trust of Arizonans throughout the redistricting process. Allowing National Demographics Corporation and Doug Johnson anywhere near our maps would fly in the face of that duty.
“In the past, NDC has applied as a single firm under their own name in bids for IRC contracts. Why have they not done so this year? Perhaps because Johnson and NDC have shown time and time again that they are willing and ready to draw and defend maps that give partisan advantage to Republicans and undercut the voting strength of communities of color. The numerous court cases in which their maps have been rejected and Johnson’s work has been discredited should immediately disqualify this firm for the role of Arizona’s mapping consultant.
“As Cyber Ninjas and the Senate GOP continue to fumble their sham audit of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots, the last thing Arizonans want is for yet another compromised GOP firm to embed itself and its right-wing agenda in one of our core democratic institutions. We strongly urge the IRC to reject the NDC/Timmons Group proposal.”