In our opinion: Redraw district boundaries based on common sense, not partisanship

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  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Aug. 2, 2017 6:22 p.m.

    Vanceone -
    "California just eliminated any hope of Republicans even getting to be on the ballot, yet Democrats here whine that a district is not drawn to guarantee them an elected official. At least you have a candidate on the ballot. "
    ... First of all that isn't true and the rest of your comment seems to be retaliatory and Petty. I'm sure you could do better.

    California certainly has several members of the House of Representatives who are Republicans in entrenched districts. Unlike some other states we have much less of the old fashioned selfish idea of people protecting what they have and not letting others get ahead.
    That means that the state has gone from democratic to heavily democratic because the present Republican party is about nothing except selfishness and protecting interests
    We're not going to get ahead in this country by being mad at other people for being who they are or for wanting what they want and drawing deep lines in the sand.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 2, 2017 1:28 p.m.

    I cannot understand why the founding fathers created the necessity voting districts. If it was to more accurately reflect the different factions in the state, they failed.

    In todays world the distribution of differing factions changes daily if not sooner. Todays factions would be people by race, occupation, religion, war or other. If the voter could specify his voting faction it would give better representation. If 30% of the state is Latino, evenly spread across the state, they probably would not be represented. But if the Latinos were able to vote as a block, they could have 30% of the representation, given that the representation was elected on a statewide election and later divided up according to the top factions by percentage.

    Evolution might even allow Democracy someday.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 2, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    California just eliminated any hope of Republicans even getting to be on the ballot, yet Democrats here whine that a district is not drawn to guarantee them an elected official. At least you have a candidate on the ballot.

    California Democrats took away the right of people to even vote for a Republican. Not a peep from any of you. The last California Senate race was between two Democrats.

    Democrats are also pushing the idea the states should give their electoral votes to the popular vote winner, and not the candidate their state voted for. And they demand that no one ever be allowed to do anything about Democrat voter fraud in California. It's a blatant attempt to destroy our country electorally.

    So pardon me if Utah doesn't volunteer to give Democrats guaranteed power by drawing up a district that Misty Snow would win without trying. Why don't you actually try to persuade people that unlimited abortion, punishment for believing in God and disagreeing with you leftists, surrendering to Islam, 110% taxes that only the peons pay, and the rest of your perverted agenda is the right way to go. And accept your losses gracefully.

  • Don Bixby Centerville, UT
    Aug. 2, 2017 10:12 a.m.

    "Maps drawn by unelected, unaccountable individuals in the back room are no better than what we have now. At least now we can vote out the rascals if we don't like the results."

    Except the funny thing about this whole issue is that you can't vote them out if you don't like the results, because they work the maps so they will be reelected every time. That's the entire point of this discussion and why it has to go to a neutral party to draw the boundaries in a more natural way.

  • CMO Beaver Beaver, UT
    Aug. 2, 2017 8:35 a.m.

    this would only happen if God drew the boundaries... but yet again most of the Republicans in Utah think that they actually are speaking for God here on planet Earth, so I guess they know what they are doing....

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 2, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    This would be a good idea, but for the fact that "common sense" is not so common anymore.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 2, 2017 6:40 a.m.

    Mike Richards writes about how the Reps represent the people..and will always vote the way the people want..and the senators represent the state and will always vote together for what is best for the state.

    Well, maybe in some far-off fantasy land, this happens. And in that fantasy land:

    Politicians always tell the truth.

    People in office actually care about the welfare of their constituents.

    Politicians are not interested in personal gain.

    Politicians attempt to unite, not divide, the people and urge the people to support goals which benefit all people--both in the short and long term.

    Congressional districts are set up in a way which reflects the people who live in them. They are not gerrymandered for ulterior motives.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Aug. 2, 2017 6:07 a.m.

    It is all to easy to read the comments and draw certain conclusions.

    Most Conservative posters like the system we have in the majority of states, namely let the dominant political party draw boundaries that enshrine their political dominance.

    Most Progressive posters want a system based on natural boundaries and a system that precludes political interference.

    I leave it to others to judge why.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Aug. 2, 2017 3:55 a.m.

    Mike Richards -
    ?I also think that our delegation in the House must vote on each bill as a bloc. Utah is one State. It is not divided against itself. It stands as a unit in the Federation of States; therefore, our Representatives are duty bound to vote together as directed by the will of the majority of Utahns on all bills."

    NO, no, no -- never!
    Senators and Congress Members take an oath to uphold the US Constitution, not what is popular in the State.
    They are charged with getting all the necessary information to vote properly, to a level that most ordinary citizens cannot go.
    Legislatures need consensus, not universal agreement or steamrolling.

    Your way would result in the Un-united States of the Tower of Babel

    As always, sticking to one's personal theories of how things should work is a waste of every one's else's time.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Aug. 2, 2017 1:58 a.m.

    @Mike Richards

    "The Senators do whatever is best for the STATE. They do not represent the People. They represent the State. If the are representing the State, they will always vote together. "

    I looked and looked, but can't find this. Can you tell us which article and Section of the U. S. Constitution or amendments tell us this?

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 11:53 p.m.

    Make a computer model that assigns districts randomly according to population numbers.

    BOOM. Done.

    I don't care if the other team wins as long as it's done fairly. Right now Salt Lake is carved up like a pizza and it dilutes a lot of voices that are being taxed but not represented. Where is the fairness in that?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 7:07 p.m.

    Voting districts are used by the rich and powerful to help in their wishes to suppress the vote of the lessor people and prevent the possibility of Democracy. Democracy is a threat to the business machine that the rich and powerful use to steal the wealth of the lessor people. The desirable operation of the business machine depends on the control of the government to set the rules.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 1, 2017 5:52 p.m.

    I was in the middle of a response when the website informed me that an error had occurred. It reset and I lost my post (as far as I know).

    Lincoln told us that a house divided cannot stand. Government is binary. Every vote is either a "yea" or a "nay".

    There are two rules in Congress. Rule one is part of a Congressman's oath. Everything done in Congress must be Constitutional. Rule two is that a Representative must represent the PEOPLE of his State. If Representatives are representing the PEOPLE, they cannot be divided. Government is binary. The PEOPLE either want a "yea" vote or they want a "nay" vote. As in everything political, the will of the majority determines the way the Representatives vote.

    The Senators do whatever is best for the STATE. They do not represent the People. They represent the State. If the are representing the State, they will always vote together. A State divided cannot stand.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 4:54 p.m.


    You just succeeded in turning the House into a bigger (i.e., more members) version of the Senate. As you have often said in the past (correctly, in my opinion), the Senate is intended to represent the states, hence the election of Senators by state legislatures prior to the 17th Amendment and the direct election of Senators by statewide popular vote now, and the House of Representatives is intended to represent *the people*, hence the direct election of Representatives by popular vote since the inception of the United States.

    Honestly though, Utah already votes as a bloc, so it wouldn't make a difference here. But... do you really want California, New York, Illinois, and Minnesota voting as a bloc? Or states with slim Democratic majorities, like Oregon, New Mexico, and Washington? Washington state is actually a great example; they have 10 Representatives - 6 Democratic and 4 Republican. Would you really be okay with at least 40% of a state's representation being eradicated (particularly if it was Republican representation)? What would be the point of a minority party's Representatives from a state even being in Washington D.C.?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 4:15 p.m.

    To one of the previous posts: I don't want to wait for California not to gerrymander so we can do that in Utah. I want our state to have the appropriate representation for the betterment of our state's population.

    However, I think it would be great by amendment that all districts across our nation must be within population parameters with contiguous boundaries that don't divide any zip code or any where possible county lines or designated city boundaries. It's stupid to have neighborhoods voting for different people for Congress. This can and should be avoided.

    Gerrymandering has created a pox in our government where so little of our Congressional districts are swing districts. This has led to extreme politicians from both parties being voted into Congress which in turn has led to less compromise and effective legislating and hyper-divided government. It really isn't presidents Trump or Obama that are responsible for divided government but gerrymandering. This needs to change or our entire Republic will be at risk within a few decades, if not sooner.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 4:10 p.m.

    So, who picks this "independent commission" and how do we know that they really are "independent" and what power is there to reject their map if, really when, someone decides it is not "fair."

    Maps drawn by unelected, unaccountable individuals in the back room are no better than what we have now. At least now we can vote out the rascals if we don't like the results.

    Let's wait for the Democrat controlled states to try this scheme out, and when we have proof that it works, we can talk about it.

    "Ballot initiaitives" are usually very bad proposals, cleverly worded and written to achieve one thing, but sold as something entirely different, with deceptively worded names, and using paid signature gatherers who will say or do anything to get names signed on their papers.

    Refuse to sign, refuse to support!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 1, 2017 3:33 p.m.

    In an earlier post, I suggested that we each vote for four Representatives. Since they represent the entire State, not just a district within the State, I believe that we should all be able to vote for the four Representatives.

    I also think that our delegation in the House must vote on each bill as a bloc. Utah is one State. It is not divided against itself. It stands as a unit in the Federation of States; therefore, our Representatives are duty bound to vote together as directed by the will of the majority of Utahns on all bills.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 2:29 p.m.

    We have the technology to have direct democracy were we all vote on the budget, new laws, and regulations.

    The internet has replaced the need for representative government.

    We should replace the legislature with direct voting. We just don't need 1 State Senator representing 100,000 people anymore, because we all can fit into a virtual room to make
    new laws and approve budgets.

    It's time for Google Gov't.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Aug. 1, 2017 1:25 p.m.

    The question would be how a commission would approach the drawing of district lines. What if the independent commission was formed and they stated they would draw the districts in a specific way without regard to partisanship: First we will divide the state in half (populationwise) with a horizontal line across the width of the state. Then, for those resulting two pieces, each would be divided with a vertical line into two equal population sides. Voila', four districts.

    If such was the stated method, what would the Democrats do?

    They would run to their computers to see if this method actually provided them a winnable district, and if it didn't, they would be criticizing the method based on one criteria or other.

    What Democrats want is for someone to draw them a district that is favorable to them, so it is not specifically a commission they want, but they see a commission as a way to get more influence over the process or where the two major parties have equal say.

  • Fitz Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 1:11 p.m.

    Letting an independent, third party create the new districts. From the people I have known that want the independent commission spooks me. It is not any better idea than the gerrymandering past. Leave the third party game and stick with the already mess we have.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 12:58 p.m.

    The sensible way for our 4 districts would mean (Roughly) Davis County , Salt Lake County, Utah County. And the fourth the rural areas of Utah. This way they could actually represent the people who elected them without having conflicts of interest between their urban and rural constituents.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    Aug. 1, 2017 12:37 p.m.

    Two problems with using zip codes:

    1) The Postal Service would be against it. They want the freedom to create, split, or consolidate zip codes in a way that serves THEIR delivery objectives. Sometimes cities have petitioned to have their cities be all one zip code, but the Postal Service says, "Hey, we know how you must feel, but the zip codes are ours for purposes of delivering the mail -- not for purposes of your identity issues." If zip codes were to be used, suddenly the zip code becomes a political unit subjecting the Postal Service to extreme pressure to tweak or fashion their zip codes a certain way in some cases.

    2) For the most part zip codes are nice areas that are a good size for building districts, and would limit the ability of redistricters to pick apart neighborhoods with a computer mouse scalpel. But as I said above, zip codes are for mail delivery purposes. Sometimes there are unusual zip code boundaries that are in place because it is easier to route mail along certain routes that are not necessarily contiguous or compact.

  • loweye salt lake, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 11:58 a.m.

    A few weeks ago I saw the new head of the Utah Republican party on channel 13's "3 questions" segment. I found it rather chilling when he said that one of his goals is to get all Democratic office holders out of office so we could have a completely conservative state. That would mean no representation for anyone but Republicans.

    Perhaps he thinks everyone in Utah who doesn't think like he does should leave. Then gerrymandering won't matter, but it may not be long before people who don't have representation will pull up stakes and move to more hospitable states. That would take away jobs, businesses and tourists. Is that what we want?

    Diversity is one of the things this country was founded on. From the first, groups have tried to change that so only the "right" (our) people will be with us. Let's get past this and become a compound in one as it was meant to be. Gerrymandering won't do that.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 11:57 a.m.

    If repubs have such brilliant ideas, why must they rely on gerrymandering, Fox News, and collusion with Russia to win elections?

    I have a better idea, rather than cheat, why don't repubs adjust their platform to be connect with the populace and become more popular with mainstream Americans?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 1, 2017 11:27 a.m.

    @Vanceone: Take a look at the State Assembly District map for my home county of Kings, NY (aka the NYC boro of Brooklyn). It's completely nuts. Meanwhile, the zip code map is nice and contiguous. And the State Assembly is run by Democrats. I don't approve of these nutty districts. They are so contorted, it's offensive. Gerrymandering has been around over two centuries, thanks to Governor Gerry of Massachusetts (parenthetically, a Republican), but it's time to end it! I'd trust the USPS over either party.

    Given the Postal Service's reputation, I can also guarantee you that it's unlikely to advantage anyone. If anything, they'd find a way to disadvantage everyone! If you still don't trust them, then simply make their districting plans subject to Federal judicial review. Problem solved.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 11:03 a.m.

    All states should switch to independent commissions drawing the maps. Right now the only ones that do are California, Washington, New Jersey, Hawaii, Arizona, and Idaho so at the moment it's skewed towards blue states doing it fairly. (Iowa has an independent commission draw the map and then their legislature votes on it).

    @conservative scientist
    "When California takes the lead in not allowing the Democrats to gerrymander their districts, we should follow their lead."

    They have... at least at the Congressional map level (I'm not sure if there's any differences in which states use independent commissions in generating state legislature maps compared to the ones I noted use it for the congressional level above).

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    @Mike "It seems to me that each voter should be voting for four members of Congress with the four receiving the most votes becoming our Representatives in the House. Article I has no provision for subdividing a State into districts."

    I could go for this, provided we had runoff primaries ignoring party labels.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:18 a.m.

    Common sense in Utah means dividing to help Republican buddies get lifetime position. Unless they bail for Fox news contract.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:17 a.m.

    The problem with Quaker's "zip code solution" is 1) the USPS is a Democrat run plantation that would disenfranchise Republicans (see their scandal where they paid postal workers to work on Hillary's campaign); and 2 it solves little anyway. How many zip codes does Salt Lake have? Provo? Sanpete county?

    Democrats whine all the time about gerrymandering (including several who whine that the US Senate is republican because of gerrymandering. Snort). Yet not a one of them ever, ever complains about districts drawn to enforce Democrat victories.
    Republicans are blamed either way. In Utah, it's "You've diluted our Democrat voters and we can't win!" In other states, it's "You've concentrated all the Democrat voters and we can't compete in the rest of the state outside our guaranteed urban seats!" I think Wisconsin Democrats literally are arguing that they should be able to take all their "excess voters" from their safe seats and apply them to other districts.

    Democrats should just come out with their real solution: Make it illegal to vote for anyone other than a Democrat. That's the law they really want; so why not try to pass it?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    Here's a scenario whereby democracy might return to Utah, and it's an ugly one. Here goes. Our erratic president destroys the economy through wholesale disruption of the "Chimerica" relationship with China, and/or brings about a nuclear exchange in the far east which subjects Utah to significant radiation exposure. This would convince to Utahns to examine their Republican addiction.

    Other than something so severe, democracy in Utah is dead for good, and redistricting will favor Republicans exclusively, perpetuating the political monopoly.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:08 a.m.

    Mike Richards: "It seems to me that each voter should be voting for four members of Congress with the four receiving the most votes becoming our Representatives in the House."

    What a perfect way to make sure every single representative for California is a Democrat. Same for every other state that has a majority of voters that favor one party over another.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:07 a.m.

    "Redraw district boundaries based on common sense, not partisanship."

    I agree completely. But it won't happen because democracy is effectively dead in Utah, not to return except for a 1929 style crisis, and the crisis will have to be that big to "work."

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:05 a.m.

    Never ever should we allow unelected, unaccountable, back room dealers to draw the political districts of our state. Elections have consequences. Liberals have lost at the ballot box. They have lost in the courts. This is nothing but another attempt to steal a seat in congress. Shame on the opinion writers for failing to point this out.

  • RP888 Layton, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 10:03 a.m.

    There is always pressure to make it so that some group rules regardless of what the populace wants. To name a few they limit voting to property holders, to the favored gender or those who have the right color of skin. They try to set rules which limit voters to those who can pay a tax or have a certain education. They do it by gerrymandering or forcing everything to go through caucuses instead of primaries. These schemes have just one purpose, to ensure that the favored group retains power regardless of what the citizens want.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Aug. 1, 2017 9:57 a.m.

    Out of 435 Congressional Districts in the U S only about 40 or 50 have close elections, the rest are districts where the dominant party normally wins by over 60% of the vote. The party controlling the State Legislature draws district lines for their own benefit. It helps when a bipartisan commission draws the lines, but still in California, for example, one party still dominates. Part of the problem with little competition in the general election is U S housing patterns. We have large areas of the county with people of very similar backgrounds, who tend to vote for the same political party.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    Picture a 3x3 grid like a tictactoe game. Put R’s in the first two columns and D’s in the third. That basically represents Utah, where there is a strongly modal geographic distribution of parties. Now you can divide the grid into three districts by rows, where each district has two R’s and one D (all identical, but D’s have no representation) or by columns (where there are two solid R districts and one solid D district. (A third option is: 3R, 2R+1D, 1R+2D)

    In the previous congressional redistricting, we were sold the pie slice model, corresponding to the row districts in the model above. The liberal urban SLC metro area was divvied up amongst the predominantly conservative rural areas. We were told that each district would then have an equal voice in Congress, as the editorial notes, since all four representatives would have to speak for both urban and rural constituents. In reality, all this did was neutralize the liberal urbanites because they never had a majority in any district.

    Better than the pie slice for Utah is the doughnut hole model, where the urban areas get a district where they have a representative without divided interests.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 9:44 a.m.

    This absolutely needs to be done! As a conservative-minded individual I don't "want" another Democrat in congress. That said, as an American (which in my mind is far pre-eminent) I do want my state to be accurately and appropriately represented in Congress. If 1/4 of Utah voters are democrats then 1/4 of our representatives should be democrats. Simple. That's the purpose of representation. Gerrymandering is a corrupt power-grab - not representation.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 1, 2017 9:37 a.m.

    What dies the Constitution say about electing members of the House?

    "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,"

    It seems to me that each voter should be voting for four members of Congress with the four receiving the most votes becoming our Representatives in the House.

    Article I has no provision for subdividing a State into districts.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 1, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    @ConservativeScientist: My suggestion below is intended as a national solution. National problems need national solutions. The Postal Service already has the most comprehensive and practical mapping and division of the country for districting for the purposes of delivering mail. Why not for delivering democracy, too?

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:50 a.m.

    When California takes the lead in not allowing the Democrats to gerrymander their districts, we should follow their lead.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:44 a.m.

    I still believe it should be done with census data and software. The goals should be to base boundaries on population alone, without considering income, race, gender distribution. As far as possible respect municipal boundaries and each district must be as contiguous as possible. It can be done.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:39 a.m.

    Just another example of how Americas crooked polititions put their self interest and party interest before national interests. American politicians are no longer public servants they have degenerated into private party professionals. There is big money in politics and less chance of going to jail than working for a crime syndicate.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:38 a.m.

    Why not let the USPS apportion the districts? After all, aren't they the ones who have to deliver the mail for all the candidates running for office? Plus, they already have a perfect, impartial framework to build districts on: zip codes.

    Here's my suggestion for a Postal Service run zip-code-based districting law: No district should contain more than one partial zip code and should otherwise consist of the most-contiguous block of complete zip codes necessary to contain the number of people allotted to the district. Nor should any zip code be split over more than two districts, except in the case of local government offices.

    Wouldn't that be fair and sensible? As an added benefit, political organizations doing mailing would be able to take advantage of the reduced cost of zip-code saturation rates.

  • It Begins In Utah Logan, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    As you all point out, it is true that while the Republicans have been the culprit of biased district border drawing in Utah, the Democrats have been equally guilty of the practice in other states.

    As we go into the 2018 voting cycle, I think it is important that we ensure that those we elect, regardless of party, support an independent commission taking charge of the boundary redraw. It's worth noting that the United Utah Party is currently the only party in Utah with a platform point that explicitly calls for turning this over to an independent commission.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    I have never liked the practice of gerrymandering but it would be silly to unilaterally disarm. Democrats have used this technique in the states they control just as effectively as the Republicans have done. To suggest that Utah should change while leaving all the others in place, is just foolish.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:13 a.m.

    Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and welcoming foreign election tampering is really all the Republicans are going to have left.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 8:05 a.m.

    Utah is ranked about 46th among states in voter participation!

    Utah Republicans have done everything in their power to divide up, and thus neutralize, all of the lefties in Salt Lake County, and Park City.

    It's pretty tough to get people to the voting booths when the out come of the elections was decided in the republican primaries!

  • It Begins In Utah Logan, UT
    Aug. 1, 2017 7:51 a.m.

    There is really no way to argue against this. Allowing political parties to draw political boundaries is simply not ethical in any way. It is impossible for them to do this in an unbiased manner.

    Utah is better than this. Let an independent commission draw out districts.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Aug. 1, 2017 6:23 a.m.

    Republicans are quite good at it. Democrats have been sorta' good at it. So a pox on both.

    But the insidious practice of political gerrymandering hinders political maturity in most US states. It is the ultimate expression of political power to destroy your enemies, and clever enough to avoid footprints of its proof.

    Smart states seem to form commissions with the intent of keeping Congressional districts to distinct natural boundaries. Therefore, Salt Lake City might have one person in Congress that represents the wishes of the city. Now there are three which represent a hunk of the city and in general won't vote as the city might vote. Rather a new "Jim Crow" law, wherein separate is most definitely not equal.