Gerrymandering in Utah

Gerrymandering in Utah

  • Posted by kaleigh
  • On March 6, 2018
  • Comments

Volunteers will be at The Front on the evening of Thursday March 8th from 4:30pm to 8:30pm to conduct voter registration and gather signatures for the Better Boundaries ballot initiative – this citizens’ ballot initiative would solve the gerrymandering problem in this state by having an independent, non-partisan commission draw up the U.S. and state congressional district boundaries rather than have the legislators draw their own.

--The following information was provided by Better Boundaries:

What is Gerrymandering?
The age-old practice of gerrymandering – defined as intentionally drawing distorted congressional district boundaries so as to render elections non-competitive and to disenfranchise groups of people (by race, political party, etc) – fundamentally undermines the democratic process, denies the constitutionally guaranteed notion of one man one vote, and is illegal.

Gerrymandering in Utah
Utah is completely gerrymandered. At the federal level, Salt Lake City is split up among three of the state’s four U.S. congressional districts. At the state level, many municipalities are split up among multiple (sometimes up to four) state legislative districts. This divvying up of neighborhoods, cities and counties doesn’t make sense. An elected representative should represent his or her constituents; intentionally dividing up neighborhoods, cities and counties makes this impossible.

National Context
The issue of gerrymandering has taken center stage of late. State and federal courts across the country (e.g. in Utah, Pennsylvania, North Carolina) have recently thrown out gerrymandered districts on the grounds of the districts being unconstitutionally drawn.

Utah’s Citizens’ Ballot initiative
113,000 “wet” (or “in-person”) signatures from registered Utah voters must be gathered in order to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. As of March 1, 98,000 qualified signatures have been collected.

What You Can Do
Come to The Front between 4:30pm and 8:30pm to sign the ballot initiative. If you are not yet registered to vote, paperwork and computers will be available for you to register.