Utah Independent Redistricting Commission proposes 12 maps to Utah lawmakers
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.