Utah lawmakers release their proposals for congressional redistricting maps
The public can comment on the borders ahead of a Legislative Committee meeting on Monday.
The Legislative Redistricting Committee released its proposed Congressional, Legislative, and School Board cards Friday night proposing a division of Salt Lake County into all four congressional districts.
Each member would represent parts of the urban Wasatch Front and rural areas – such as District 3, which would include parts of Salt Lake County, Park City, Provo, and Moab.
Utahns can comment in person and online prior to the committee meeting on Monday. The cards can be found under “Proposal for Committee Chairs” at citygate.utleg.gov/legdistricting/utah/comment_links. Under Comment Link, click Open.
On the legislature’s maps, District 1 encompasses the northern part of the state that extends to Ogden and East Millcreek. District 2 comprises the western part of Salt Lake County and southern parts of the state, including St. George to Blanding. District 3 comprises the central part of the state, including Herriman and Nephi. And District 4 stretches across the eastern part of the state all the way down to Moab.
Committee co-chairs Senator Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, and Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said they had “reviewed and implemented the contributions of the public, minority and majority lawmakers, and the Independent Redistricting Commission.”
In her press release, Sandall said, “After listening to the Utahners and touring the state, Rep. Ray and I made maps that we believe will incorporate the interests of all Utahners. The Congress card we are proposing includes all four delegates representing both urban and rural parts of the state.
“Rural Utah is why urban areas of the state have food, water, and energy,” said Sandall. “We are a Utah and believe that both urban and rural interests in Washington, DC should be represented by the entire federal delegation.”
Ray added that he and Sandall “have worked tirelessly to find boundaries that best represent the diverse interests of the people we have been elected to represent. I am grateful for the feedback we have received directly from the local communities and look forward to discussing our cards with the committee and the legislature as a whole. “
The co-chairs will present the cards on Monday, and the committee will then vote on what to recommend to the entire legislature. State lawmakers will have a special session on Tuesday to approve cards that will be finalized by the end of this month.
At first glance, when it comes to uniting communities, this map is well below average when compared to the maps produced by the People’s Commission.
As it turns out, a team of impartial commissioners is best placed to take on the redistribution task. #utpol https://t.co/9Z6kxAK8FH
– Better Utah (@betterutah) November 6, 2021
Members of the bipartisan Independent Redistribution Commission presented their cards to the Legislative Redistribution Committee on Monday.
The nonprofit Alliance for a Better Utah criticized the legislature’s cards in a Twitter thread posted on Saturday morning.
“At first glance, when it comes to maintaining communities [u]Overall, this map is clearly below average compared to the maps created by the People’s Commission, ”it said. “It turned out that the people best placed to do the redistribution work are a team of impartial commissioners.
“Besides, we cannot ignore the terrible process. The legislature published the cards on Friday evening. People just have [one] Opportunity to comment on it: this Monday at [3 p.m.]. The cards will be voted on within the next 2 weeks, but they will affect our lives for 10 years, ”said the non-profit organization.
The Utah voters established the independent commission in 2018 through Proposition 4. But in 2020 lawmakers gave the independent commission an advisory role with its work, which lawmakers can consider but are not bound by.
An analysis of the FiveThirtyEight website found that the congressional cards proposed by the independent commission would give the Utah Democrats a slight boost. Former Congressman Rob Bishop abruptly resigned from the independent commission on October 25, claiming the commission was “metrocentric” and ignored rural parts of the state.
Some people criticized the legislature’s proposed congressional cards on the Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee website.
“Are you explaining to me that this is not a blatant takeover by people who are afraid of losing control of Utah politics?” One person wrote. Another commented: “This map does not reflect the population of Utah. The division of Salt Lake County into four districts is unfair to rural and urban voters. “
“Please use one of the maps made by the independent commission,” wrote one commentator. “It feels incredible, like ignoring the will of the people and not caring about transparency.”
One person said the Congress card “will deprive rural areas of rights at the expense of the Wasatch Front.” Another commenter asked how the interests of the people who live in Logan relate to the people who live in downtown Salt Lake City.
“As a Republican living in a more rural part of the state, I have the same complaint as those who live in Salt Lake,” the person wrote. “Please don’t water down our vote by dividing us into all four districts! I am much more interested in everyone being fairly represented than voting more people from my own party. “
Bryant Heath, who ran every street in Salt Lake City in 2020, tweeted on Saturday: “Just a normal Saturday morning run through all four Utah counties on #utleg’s proposed congressional map.” he said it should be 4 miles long and run through the neighborhoods of “People Affected by the Proposed Map”.
For more information on redistribution, see redistricting.utah.gov.
This story evolves and is updated.