Provo residents share concerns about the preservation of their neighborhood as part of the redistribution process in Utah
Some Provo residents fear the Utah relocation process will not respect the city’s neighborhood boundaries. You discussed this during a meeting of the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission at the Provo Recreation Center on Friday
This is the first year Utah has a bipartisan group that listens to citizens’ input and proposes new district maps to the legislature. The commission also has the task of protecting “interest groups”, but state law does not define exactly what that means.
Provo is divided into 34 districts, which are divided into five areas. Each has their own elected chairman who leads neighborhood meetings.
Some of these neighborhoods are currently divided into different State House and Senate counties such as North Park. There, the east side is in House District 61 and State District 15, but the west side is in House District 63 and Senate District 16.
Daniel Craig Friend is a Provo resident and attended the Friday meeting.
“Our neighborhood program is old, it goes back years,” said Friend. “They are the definition of a community of interests and should be preserved.”
Rex Facer, chairman of the commission, said each district should have roughly the same number of people. Since Utah County is one of the largest counties in the state, Facer says Provo has to be split into multiple counties in the House and Senate.
But Friend said it was possible to divide the boroughs evenly without dividing Provo’s neighborhoods. He has presented several maps to the Commission showing how he thinks it could be done.
Martha Winsor has lived in Provo since 1991. She is worried about the preservation of the neighborhoods, but also about the Gerrymandering.
Jacob Rugh, a sociology professor at BYU, told Congressional counties specifically that he wasn’t too concerned about gerrymandering in Utah County because while some constituencies went blue in the 2020 election, the county as a whole is still largely Republican.
“I wouldn’t expect that in Utah County,” said Rugh. “No matter how the line is drawn, it wouldn’t have much of an impact. I think the most important thing is how Salt Lake County is divided.”
The independent commission will present its card recommendations to the state parliament in November before the legislature makes the final decision.