Following the 2020 census, the Utah state legislature began the redistribution process. During a redistribution of a state, the legislative boundaries are redrawn in order to better represent the population of the state enumerated in the census of the previous year. This process occurs once every ten years.
Census Bureau data for the 2020 census is expected to be released on August 16, 2021.
Rep Paul Ray, co-chair of the redistribution committee, said that after receiving the population data and working with a representative from the Kem Gardner Institute at the University of Utah, he was able to make predictions about what the changes will look like.
âSo we don’t know where the exact populations are up to the census block, but we do know the areas of the state and even the areas of the counties that have seen increased growth,â Ray said.
Ray explained that seats will not have to be added or removed, but rather legislative districts will be redesigned, citing the fact that the population of Utah has moved south, to places like counties in the Utah and Washington.
âIt looks like we’ll probably have to readjust the legislative seats to the south,â Ray said.
The redistribution schedule was set by the Utah legislature on its website, starting with the release of census data on August 16, followed by meetings with the public and the redistribution committee, and ending with the proposal. final of new legislative districts to Governor Spencer Cox for approval or veto in December of this year.
Matthew Burbank, professor of political science at U, explained that it is difficult to point to a district and say he was gerrymander.
“What I would say in that regard is that one of the things about the term gerrymandering is of course, it’s a politically charged term, isn’t it, so it’s not really the case that we can designate a district and say that the district has been gerrymandered and another district has not been gerrymandered, âBurbank said.
Burbank said the party that does not hold power in a state will almost always use the term to its advantage.
âYou know, they tend to draw lines that, in all honesty, will probably benefit their parties, but the other side almost always says, ‘oh, they’re gerrymandered. âBut again, there’s no clear definition of what exactly a gerrymander is,â he said. âThat termâ¦ is used in a very political way, isn’t it, so districts that are perfectly fine are called gerrymandered just because the other side doesn’t like it very much. “
The Utah State Legislature chose a 20-member committee to complete the redistribution process.
âThroughout the redistribution process, we will talk and listen to people from across the state before making recommendations,â said Redistribution Committee co-chair Senator Scott Sandall. “The diverse perspectives of our committee will help us find the best way forward as we work to represent all individuals, families and groups in Utah,”