Four Congressional, fifteen School Board, twenty-nine senate, and seventy-five House—these are the districts that need to be redrawn this year during the October legislative special session for redistricting. But because of COVID, the process that would normally start in May needs to wait until September.
It’s the census results that guide the schedule for this process. According to Co-Chair Representative Paul Ray, Utah doesn’t even have the results back yet which is the reason behind the delay start in the process.
“They'll drop what they call the legacy file on August 16. And that's just the raw data. If you wait for the Census Bureau to refine the data, you will get that on September 30. With the software that we've purchased, and a company that we're working with, we can actually take that raw data, refine it and be ready to go by September 1,” said Ray.
Town halls will start on Sept. 2 and the committee will be traveling all over Utah to talk with communities about their thoughts for the redistricting process.
In the 2011 redistricting process, Ray said technology allowed them to open up the process for more input by accepting community-drawn maps. One of the current district maps were submitted by the public.
“If you have maps, please draw maps and submit them. You know, I would like to adopt all the maps from the public if we could. And so you know, that's one of the things that we'll be looking at trying to do,” said Ray.
The committee hopes that all the maps they used will be submitted by the public. Barriers that may prevent this is the need for districts to have equal populations and possible gerrymandering.
For more information on the redistricting process, visit the official redistricing website.