Rep. Webb encourages citizen involvement in re-districting

Providence resident and state legislator Curt Webb is one of 19 members of the state re-districting committee and he encourages constituents to access a new citizen map-drawing web site to submit their ideas. “The web site itself is up, but the tool to run it isn’t functional yet. It should be available within a week.” The new site is

<a href=”http://www.redistrictutah.com/”>www.redistrictutah.com</a>

. Webb, Republican State Representative from District 5, said the committee has been together three times. “We have had two committee meetings at the Capitol and we did one hearing last Friday night in Lehi. We want to get the public’s input, what they think are good ideas.” Obviously, said Webb, these new districts that are being created must have candidates for the 2012 elections. “We need to get this done by the end of the summer and then we will need to have a special session. We’re not authorized to do anything more than create maps that have to be approved through the legislative process.” He said the special session is likely to be called for early October. After that local governments can subdivide the districts into voting precincts. “All of that has to be in place for the 2012 election.” Members of the state’s minority party, the Democrats, have expressed concerns about the fairness of the re-districting process. “They are included on the committee,” said Webb. “With five of the 19 members being Democrats, three of the 13 from the house and two of the six from the senate.” Webb said growth areas in the state just happen to be in Republican areas. “Areas that haven’t grown, like Ogden and Salt Lake City proper, those are Democrat areas. They’re land locked, they just haven’t grown. “Any areas in the state that haven’t grown, Logan is going to have this problem, are going to have to expand geographically and often they overlap with other districts.” Webb said the entire process is numbers driven and by constitutional mandate the new census numbers, from 2010, must be divided into 75 house districts. “That means 36,852 people per district,” he said. “If you don’t have that many in the district, you can only vary so much. We have decided that each district will not deviate from that by more than three and a half percent. If we go beyond that, then it is subject to a challenge in the Supreme Court.” To get over 36,000 into each district they are required to use small blocks of voters, blocks determined by the census people, not by the political boundaries. “You have to use those little voting blocks to put those together to get enough people in a district.”

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