Every ten years, with each new census, Utah takes a fresh look at the way voters will be divided into voting districts. This determines who you’ll have a chance to vote for as state representative, state senator, and who you’ll send to Washington to represent you in Congress.  The question is, are these districts drawn up in a fair way, or is gerrymandering—the practice of slicing and dicing geography and populations in order to favor one candidate or party—going on in Utah?  Why are both Moab and Park City cut in half and represented by two different representatives in our state legislature? Tooele County is represented by, literally, four different state senators!  These are just a few examples that raise questions about how voting districts are created.

Utah is, according to many, one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. In the Deseret News, Senator Bob Bennett called our current map, created in 2002, the worst case of gerrymandering he''d ever seen.  Now there is a group, Fair Boundaries ( ), that is taking on the task of educating the public and collecting the information needed to convince state leaders to form a non-partisan commission to draw up a new map that would create compact districts, follow city/county boundaries, and be fair to all political parties.  This is a legislative process that begins with the public’s education and involvement.

A knowledgeable representative from Fair Boundaries is coming to Kane County as part of a statewide tour to explain the issues and answer questions about how voting districts are created in Utah, and what we can do to make sure the process is transparent. Who will represent Kane County in the future—and more importantly, will that person also represent high-population, large city areas which have nothing in common with Kane County? Fairness in our voting districts won’t happen by itself; the public must be involved before the decision is finalized by the state legislature.  Learn how that can happen by attending the discussion next week.