The district you belong to and where you cast your vote matters a lot. It matters because depending on who else is in your district, you may find your voice diluted and drowned out by a majority of opposing voices. Or, you may feel perfectly content, fortunate to be casting your vote with other like-minded citizens.
Not many people are aware of how districts are determined and the huge impact it may have on the power of their vote. In Utah where there is a clear party majority, more citizens are becoming aware of the term gerrymandering, or the intentional breaking up of certain voices to favor a particular outcome or political party.
Because of the growing concern that one political party may hold too much power, United Utah party advocates the creation of an independent commission to evaluate and redraw district lines.
Current Entity in Utah for Defining Districts.
In Utah, elected officials in the state legislature hold the power of defining districts. For a while now, people have argued that elected officials are not totally unbiased because they likely feel the pull and tug of party affiliation. It begs the question if current methods for drawing district lines are reliable.
Research and Public Opinion
In Utah and throughout the nation, researchers and scholars are looking into how district lines are drawn. The United Utah Party has done extensive research on this issue because it does matter how lines are drawn, and who is drawing them.
The United Utah Party supports the formation of independent redistricting commissions to ensure the voice of the people is not manipulated by political parties through the drawing of lines. In a survey conducted in July 2015, the majority of Utahns said they agree.
Elsewhere in the Nation
Fortunately, when it comes to forming independent redistricting commissions, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Already six other states have created independent commissions to define voting districts. That also means we have data and research which looks at the effects of putting that power of line-drawing into the hands of independent commissions.
Interestingly, independent redistricting does not necessarily dramatically change the overall outcome, as shown by research conducted in California. But that hasn't deterred California or other states from standing behind their independent approach. In 2015, the Supreme Court agreed that citizens of each state have the right to appoint independent redistricting commissions.
The Whole Point of Independent Commissions
Lines can be drawn to favor pretty much any desired outcome. The purpose is not to ensure that more Democratic representatives win elections or that majorities get split up. United Utah firmly believes in transparency and best practices for creating fair and reasonable solutions. When it comes to defining districts, methodology and rationale for those lines are all that matters. Each citizen still has a voice, a voice that joins with others to select a preferred representative.
Having the peace of mind that our voice is not being divided or manipulated for some ulterior motive is what United Utah Party is ready to fight for.