Wednesday, September 20, 2006

4 Districts

The Governor unveiled a map of Utah drawn to include four congressional districts. Compare it to the 4 district map the legislature drew in 2001. A few things: 1. The Legislature drew 4 GOP districts. The Governor drew 3 GOP and one Dem. 2. The Governor drew LaVar Christensen out of District 2 BUT 3. Christensen is in the new District 4 which appears to be pretty Republican and which includes Washington County where Christensen has been campaigning for a while already.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Todd said...

There are three things you should know about this issue:

1) Utah Democrats have been relentless in trying to help Utah to get a fourth seat. Despite what you may have heard from Republicans, Congressman Jim Matheson is a strong supporter of the bill presented to the Judiciary Committee to give Utah a fourth seat. It was information obtained by the Utah State Democratic Party in 2002 on Census Bureau statistical manipulation giving the seat to North Carolina that got Utah to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome – not the challenge on overseas missionaries which failed to make it to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Republican Attorney General lost the case.

2) The map presented by Huntsman is not a sincere effort. It contains a population deviation that does not meet the Constitutional test of Article I Section 2 that has been interpreted to require that only a very small amount of deviation is acceptable within a state. See Karcher v Daggett, 462 US 725 (1983) (US Supreme Court). Therefore, this map was presented for political purposes. Despite the rhetoric about being bipartisan and coming together, it is neither. They are trying to set up Democrats to take the blame for Utah’s failure to get a fourth seat. If the Republicans wanted it, they have the majority in Congress to pass it. It is the Congressional Republicans that have failed to provide appropriate representation in Congress to the citizens of Utah and the District of Columbia.

3) Utah Democrats have been relentless in trying to provide Utah with a fair redistricting process. Utah needs an independent commission, stricter rules, and a fair process for redistricting that is why Rep. Roz McGee sponsored HB91 in 2006, HJR14 in 2005, HJR17 in 2003, and Rep. Karen Morgan sponsored HJR03 in 2002. Pledges of fairness by Republicans are not enough. The Utah Republican Legislature’s failure to adopt a fair redistricting process is costing Utah representation in Congress.

9/20/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Governor and Legislature are sincere in their efforts. They believe that 4 Congressional seats are better than 3 and if that means giving Jim Matheson an ideal Democratic seat then so be it.

Don't let Todd fool you with his fancy talk about population deviations and court cases. This is a first draft and the numbers show that with a few minor tweaks it is very doable.

Step up Democrats and prove to the State that you want a 4th seat.

9/20/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

None of this will matter for the 2006 cycle right? Or will there be a special election by the State central commitee, then wide open for 2008?

9/20/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Give us a fair redistricting process. Step up Republicans and show us you want a 4th seat.

9/21/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a losing situation for Matheson's constituents. I also agree with Todd about it not meeting the Constitutional test. We want to keep our Congressman. We trust him.

9/21/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Mouthy said...

Congressman Matheson doesn't need a "safe district". He has proven that he can win anywhere in Utah.

I think they want Matheson out of Southern Utah. His leadership is growing the Party, and we sure as hell can't have that!

9/21/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

What a load of crap Todd!

This is only a first draft. Besides you and I and every educated, intellectually honest utahn knows that the state legislature is ultimately the body that will draw the boundaries. At least the Govenor, Curtis and Valentine are actuallying DOING SOMETHING...

You make it sound the whole process unconstitutional...All you have to do is cut into any county (look at Juab now for example) to satisfy the population issue.

The truth is, the Democrats are not going to be able to pick up another seat between now and the next census anyway. How would Todd or the other Democrats actually draw up the boundaries any differently? What more could they want in a district? This effectively would solidify two Democrat seats in Congress - Matheson's and DC.

They aren't saying how they would do it because just as now and historicly they are confused and unorganized. They don't know what to do.

Just listening to Doug Wright this morning is evidence that Matheson is unsure what to do. He's hidding in his office and not saying anything. If this is and has always been an issue he and the Democrates have championed where is he now that something is on the table?

Its not the GOP that needs to step up - its Matheson.

9/21/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Wannabe Alienated Establishment said...

I don't get it.

I listened to the local Democratic leadership on Doug Wright this morning. First they were whining about the Republicans trying to gerrymander Matheson out of office last time by making his district too competitive. (Remember that Jim Hansen was also so mad back then, because his district was made so much more competitive, that he retired early!)

Now, they are whining that the Republicans are proposing four non-competitive districts, where Matheson can easily win his for the rest of eternity. How are we supposed to take the Democrats seriously? Isn't it obvious that no matter what is proposed, they are going to whine and complain?

Come on! Get your act together for the good of the state!

If you don't like the Governor’s proposal, then come strong with one of your own. Stop whining and do something constructive!

9/21/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Brett said...

What everyone (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) should be concerned about is why there are "safe" districts for any party. If we had a redistricting commission, independent of any partisan bias, we would have competitive districts that would represent the voters, not the whims of parties. This map will be put together by Republicans in government, will have some Democratic input, will be passed eventually by the Republican legislature. How about we have independents looking at the realities of population distribution deciding where boundaries are?

9/21/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

The Democrat's proposal is for a fair independent redistricting commission. We are not confused and we are doing something about it. We have proposed this legislation four times.

It is the GOP that is whining because they will not do the right thing for the citizens of Utah -- provide a fair redistricting process AND get representation in Congress for Utah.

Utah Democrats are concerned about the approach to redistricting in Utah beyond any specific map. It is the process that is corrupt.

From a Wall Street Journal editorial:

"We know that courts or bipartisan 'commissions' don't always do a better job than politicians in the messy work of redistricting. But both Canada and Britain appoint boundary commissions that somehow are universally respected by all parties and create far more competitive seats.

That was the model Ronald Reagan had in mind when he warned Americans in 1989 about the "conflict of interest" legislators have in drawing their own districts. He said that gerrymandering would remain a "national scandal" so long as the public was uninformed about how it renders many elections meaningless.

Mr. Reagan's sensible voice has been stilled, so we hope other leaders will take up the call. Perhaps former Congressional leaders without a stake in the process can help. The sad truth is that incumbents and party hacks are using this year's gerrymanders to fix next year's elections in advance."


The Joint Legislative Redistricting Committee adopts new guidelines each cycle to govern the redistricting process. In 2001 with the advice of counsel, the Committee adopted guidelines that were designed more to prevent possible court challenges than to serve the interests of the voters of Utah. This had the effect of creating "values-free" redistricting plans that only maximized the partisan gains of those with the power to implement them and failed to take into account any other legitimate community interests.

At a minimum Utah needs rules that will create an incentive for plans to respect all of the traditional redistricting standards, and preserve voters' choices in Utah. Those traditional redistricting standards include: one person - one vote, utilize the most recent census data, districts that are contiguous and compact, do not retrogress the position of racial minorities, preserve communities of interest, respect political subdivisions, respect geographical boundaries, preserve the core of existing districts, minimize voter disruption, and respect voters choices as expressed in previous elections.

There are other criteria that should be included in addition to those traditional criteria that have previously been used in Utah. There should be some criteria developed to protect racial minority populations consistent with the Voting Rights Act. For example, there might be rules against packing or fracturing communities that have a high proportion of racial minorities. Or a rule to ensure that there is no retrogression in the ability of racial minorities to participate in the process and in electing representatives of their choice consistent with Beer v. United States. Our chief concern is that by looking only at single race demographics, the legislature has failed to protect Utah's racially minority communities that taken together have a strong political cohesion.

Another important criterion would be to minimize the disruption of current districts by preserving the cores of districts and protecting the historical continuity of voters with their districts and their chosen representatives. This protection of voters and their choices is critical to keep a process whereby the voters choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing their voters.

And, finally, there should be a standard about impermissible considerations. For instance, there could be a rule that districts shall be created so as to not to unduly favor or discriminate against any person or political party. Utah has adopted similar rules in the past.

These standards need to be applied in a common sense manner. We recognize that not all of these standards can be applied consistently to creating each and every individual district and that having standards may invite lawsuits. However, failure to enact standards to protect the community allows self-interest to be nearly the sole standard used by mapmakers.

We are also concerned about the lack of public access to redistricting information and processes. The public has been denied access to utilize legislative resources for putting together their own maps for consideration by the committee. Minimally, the committee could provide a roadmap for public input like that in Idaho. For the purposes of redistricting in the State House in 2001, the committee was broken down into subcommittees that did not given notice of their meetings to the public or in some instances the Democratic members of those subcommittees.

9/21/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Todd...You are confusing the issue. The issue on the table is the 4th Seat - not redistricting.

Don't bring in the issue of fairness regarding redistricting when the real topic of discussion is that of fair representation.

To me this just looks like the Democrats are LOOKING for something to fight about - not interested in solving the problem at hand.

The rules of redistricting are what they are...lets play by those rules.

9/21/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody care that giving a seat to Washington DC is currently unconstitutional? Legislative action that ignores the Constitution for political purposes is disgusting. If DC wants voting representatives then let's change the Constitution the right way - with an ammendment.

9/21/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Let me seek if I get it now, the Democrat plan is to have an independent commission draw the boundaries because:

1) Ronald Reagan, every Democrats favorite intellectual, said that was the way to do it.

2) The Democrats don't trust themselves to come up with fair boundary recommendations.

9/21/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unconstitutional? Why?

There are competent scholars and legal thinkers that would disagree.

See: http://www.dcvote.org/pdfs
/congress/constitutionality
ofsimleg050305.pdf

9/21/2006 04:50:00 PM  

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