A year ago, when Republican Sean Reyes was running to for reelection as Utah’s Attorney General, he was asked a question about who his most important legal client would really be.
Would it be the governor, the legislature, or the people?
Now we have Reyes’ real answer: None of the above.
By signing an amicus brief supporting the practice of partisan gerrymandering Utah’s Republican Attorney General has declared that he fundamentally represents the status quo for his Republican party.
In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will hear a case (Gill v. Whitford) that will decide whether voter redistricting in Wisconsin
used partisan gerrymandering to favor Republican candidates, and whether that type of redistricting is constitutional.
Attorney General Reyes has put himself on record endorsing Wisconsin’s status quo, arguing, in effect, that partisan gerrymandering is perfectly fine.
Utah voters don’t see it that way.
According to a Dan Jones poll commissioned by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Salt Lake Tribune 61 percent of Utah voters favor having an independent commission—rather than legislators—redraw political boundaries to avoid the partisanship of gerrymandering that allows representatives to choose their voters when it should be the other way around.
Once again, it’s the infant United Utah Party that is in step with what most voters really believe once they get past labels.
The United Utah Party platform calls for independent redistricting as an element of healthy government reform. It’s a centerpiece of its platform.
We should have the expectation in Utah that each person’s voice and views are reflected in the power of their votes that aren’t sliced and diced and bundled in a way to suppress their influence in the outcomes of elections.
We should also have the expectation that our elected officials are responsive, accountable and transparent in their conduct of the people’s business. Because we can do BETTER.