Remapping Utah Politics: Redistricting 2021

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air Date: August 21, 2021)— This week on the program, a panel of experts discusses the process undertaken last year by both the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission and the Utah Legislature to redraw Utah’s political boundaries for the next decade.

Proposition 4 — narrowly approved by voters in 2018, then repealed and replaced by the Legislature in 2020 — created these parallel redistricting processes. The two groups finished their respective maps last November and presented them to the public. The maps were subsequently passed by the Utah Legislature with veto-proof majorities in both chambers and were signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox.

Then, in March, voting rights advocacy groups brought a lawsuit alleging the maps adopted by the Utah Legislature in 2021 represent an “extreme partisan gerrymander” and deprive Utahns of their constitutional right to vote. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the League of Women Voters of Utah and Mormon Women for Ethical Government. The suit names the Utah Legislature and the Legislative Redistricting Committee as defendants, as well as a handful of Republican state leaders. The lawsuit was filed in Utah’s 3rd Judicial District Court and is unlikely to be decided in time to affect the 2022 midterms boundaries, but may impact Utah’s 2024 election cycle.

The panel includes Rex Facer, chair of the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission; former Rep. Paul Ray, co-chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee; Sen. Karen Mayne, Senate minority leader in the Utah Legislature; and James Curry, assistant professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Utah. Moderating today’s discussion is Mallory Bateman, senior research analyst at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

This forum was recorded on October 18th, 2021, before any maps were made public.