Forum for voter redistricting slated for Monday evening at Weber State

Saturday , September 09, 2017 - 7:24 PM

CATHY MCKITRICK, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Every 10 years, after new U.S. Census numbers get released, Utah lawmakers take up the task of redrawing boundaries for federal, state and local legislative districts.

That redistricting process arouses concerns about potential gerrymandering on the part of incumbents who aim to remain in office or to keep their seat in the hands of their political party as long as possible.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, the American Democracy Project, Weber County League of Women Voters and Weber State University Student Association will host a Redistricting Forum in the Wildcat Theater on the Weber State campus. Andrew Roberts of Better Boundaries Utah is scheduled to speak. 

According to Betterboundaries.org, Utah’s current redistricting process needs reform because it allows incumbent politicians to align their districts to maximize the number of people who will vote for them, thus resulting in less competitive races and representatives who put their own interests above constituent needs. 

Better Boundaries is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would establish an independent redistricting commission and set forth standards and requirements for redrawing legislative boundaries. 

“Decades of allowing politicians to pick their voters has resulted in less accountability and a staggering level of distrust among the electorate,” the four Better Boundaries signers said in their July 19, 2017 letter and application to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

The group must gather nearly 115,000 signatures from registered voters throughout the state to get the measure on the 2018 ballot.

According to Terri McCulloch, co-leader for the Weber County League of Women Voters, Monday’s forum will last about 90 minutes.

“We’re going to get the pros and cons of changing redistricting so that gerrymandering doesn’t have to happen. We’ll try to see both sides, and also get an update of where they’re at with getting signatures,” McCulloch said Friday.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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