SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah’s Legislative Redistricting Committee is seeking public input during the redistricting process, which is facing a shorter timeline due to COVID-19, according to a press release.
The Legislature is required to under the constitution to redraw legislative, congressional, and school board district boundaries every ten years to reflect population changes. It formed the Utah Legislative Redistricting Committee in order to collect public feedback and recommendations for new boundaries.
“As lawmakers, we are accountable to Utahns and committed to upholding the public process,” says Sen. Scott Sandall, co-chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee.
“Public input is essential for redistricting. As individuals voted into office, we have a vested interest in the feedback and views of our constituents. We want to understand your perspectives and amplify your voice throughout this process,” he adds.
The Committee is using guidelines to prevent the use of partisan data when redrawing lines in order to ensure the process is done fairly.
“During regular circumstances, redistricting can be a long and arduous process,” says Rep. Paul Ray, co-chair of the Legislative Redistricting Committee. “Due to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing an even shorter timeline, essentially completing nine months of work in six weeks. Because of this accelerated timeline, the public’s involvement and input will be crucial to our success. I look forward to visiting communities and meeting with Utahns as we move into the next phases of our redistricting process.”
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed data from the 2020 Census, forcing an accelerated timeline for redistricting. The committee is still planning to hold the same number of redistricting meeting as was held during the previous redistricting cycle and will travel to locations throughout Utah to hold these meetings.
In addition to attending public meetings, the committee invites Utahns to use the map drawing tool to submit maps for their review once the census data is released.
Currently, the redistricting timeline is as follows:
● August 2021 – The Legislative Redistricting Committee expects to receive data from the U.S. Census Bureau by August 16.
● September 2021 – The Legislative Redistricting Committee expects to have the online redistricting software tool ready for public use by early September.
● September-October 2021 – The Legislative Redistricting Committee will hold public hearings, and Utahns will be able to draw and submit maps online.
● November 2021 – The Legislative Redistricting Committee will review recommended maps by the public and the Independent Redistricting Commission before providing its recommendation to the full Legislature.
● November 2021 – The Legislature will adopt final maps before Thanksgiving.
● December 2021 – The governor will approve or veto legislative maps.
Visit redistricting.utah.gov to create maps and for more information.