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Utah Independent Redistricting Commission proposes 12 maps to Utah lawmakers

Utah Independent Redistricting Commission

  

The Utah Independent Redistricting Commission has proposed new boundaries for Utah’s congressional, House, Senate, and school board districts. At a meeting with state lawmakers Monday, the Commission presented twelve maps, three for each type of district, and explained the process by which they were produced. 

For the first time, the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission presented maps to the Legislative Redistricting Committee in a four-hour hearing. The bipartisan commission attempted to avoid bias by basing their drawings on population data and natural boundaries instead of partisan political data or voting records. Senator Lyle Hillard said that, despite efforts to remain objective, individual opinions differed about the best way to draw the maps.

“One person, an elected official in the county or city, would say one thing about where the line should be and somebody else in the same county or city said, no, no, it's another area. So community of interests can end up pretty subjective in how you do it," said Hillard.

In addition to elected officials, the public had an opportunity to weigh in on the maps. Commission chairman Rex Facer explained how public feedback was incorporated into the map drawing process.

“We then broadcasted on YouTube each of our map drawing sessions so people can see the decision-making behind our map drawing," said Facer. "After a map was completed, we would post it online with an online forum that allowed the public to indicate how well they thought the map accommodated their community's needs.” 

One of the 12 proposed maps was even submitted by a citizen. 

The Utah Independent Redistricting Commission’s role is to propose redistricting maps that divide population and geographical regions in a balanced and logical way. The Legislative Redistricting Committee is scheduled to vote on the final maps next Monday, one day before a special session with the full Legislature is set to consider the maps. 

 

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.
Caroline Long is a science reporter at UPR. She is curious about the natural world and passionate about communicating her findings with others. As a PhD student in Biology at Utah State University, she spends most of her time in the lab or at the coyote facility, studying social behavior. In her free time, she enjoys making art, listening to music, and hiking.
Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.