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Utah Hosts National Redistricting Conference


Every ten years, states across the country go through a redistricting process where district maps are redrawn to represent the population of a particular area. As states begin to get ready to start the process, representatives from all over the country gathered in Salt Lake last week for one final conference. 

This week, more than 450 legislators and staff from across the country gathered in Salt Lake City as the National Conference of State Legislatures host the “Get Ready to Redistrict” seminar.  Among the attendees was Senator Scott Sandall, the co-chair of the Utah Redistricting Committee. 

“We’re here to try to get the best knowledge we can about how redistricting process should work, how it's worked in the past," Sandall said. "What have been the pitfalls, what have states done that have caused people to litigate, and how to avoid litigation problems with redistricting."

Sandall said that having meetings like this helps him really understand how much goes into the process of redistricting. It’s especially helpful to talk with others about the challenges that they have faced and overcame. 

Being able to meet with other states also shows what makes Utah stand out when it comes to this process compared to other states.

“One of the things that makes us unique, is our geographic setup of our state between the mountain and the lake, but most of our population is concentrated along the Wasatch Front," he said. "A number of other states are concentrated in pockets different in three or four places, or they may be spread mostly across the state boundary. “ 

Due to COVID, other redistricting seminars have been held online and as webinar series. This in-person event is the final one before the 2021 process begins. 

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.