Drawing boundaries: How much influence will public have on redistricting process?
Waddoups said he expects the final map of the state's now four congressional districts will likely look something like his most recent proposal that puts all of Salt Lake City in a 2nd District that includes much of the rest of the state, but splits Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties.
He said the public input received by the committee has been repetitive. "Frankly, the amount of input we've gotten so far, it's the same people over and over," Waddoups said. "They're broken records."
What the public really wants, Waddoups said, is for the boundaries to be determined by the lawmakers they elected and trust.
"There is nobody who is closer to the people that those who have been elected by the people," the Senate leader said. "We've done a good job. It's fair and representative of the people. The minority doesn't like it, but the majority does."
Sumsion also defended the process.
"Pretty much every darn map I've drawn, I've put out there. I've been very open," Sumsion said, suggesting criticism comes because if people don't "get exactly what they want, they think the system has run amok."
Once the committee's work is done, however, it could be a different story.
Sumsion said he doesn't expect House leadership to exert a "heavy hand" over what is ultimately approved by the Legislature. "I can't speak for the Senate," he said, "but certainly with the speaker, she has been very open."
He said the critics will be proven right — or wrong — only after the final maps approved by the Legislature are compared to what came out of the public process.
"If it's totally different, yep, they're right," Sumsion said. "But I'm pretty confident there is no secret map out there waiting to get brought forward. At least I haven't seen one."
David Irvine, a member of the Utah Citizens Council, said a cynic "would say they can, at the end, do whatever they were going to do at the beginning and say, 'We've taken all of this public input.' "
So is he cynical about the redistricting effort?
"There's only one answer I can give you," Irvine said. "I can't be cynical. You have to go into this hoping that you can have some influence and help make the process better."
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