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May 19, 2011


Ground Rules


Here are the fundamental, core standards to which the 2011 Redistricting Committee must adhere to as they draw maps. Citizen maps will be helpful to the committee to the extent they also comply with these principles and guidelines.

2011 Redistricting Principles

1. Congressional districts must be as nearly equal as practicable with a deviation not greater than ± .1 %.

2. State legislative districts and state school board districts must have substantial equality of population among the various districts with a deviation not greater than ± 3.5%.

3. Districts will be single member districts.

4. Plans will be drawn to create four Congressional Districts, 29 State Senate Districts, 75 State House Districts, and 15 State School Board Districts.

5. In drawing districts, the official population enumeration of the 2010 decennial census will be used.

6. Districts will be contiguous and reasonably compact.

All of the relevant criteria must be satisfied in order to submit a redistricting plan. The online tool has capabilities built in to help users address this requirement. Deviations from the ideal population are displayed within the tool as district lines are drawn. There is also a tool embedded in the online redistricting tool that tests for contiguity in the displayed plan.

In addition, the Redistricting Committee also adopted these procedural rules for their work:

2011 Redistricting Procedural Guidelines

1. Redistricting Committee meetings will be open to the public.

2. Members of the public may obtain any copies of written information provided at Redistricting Committee meetings.

3. All requests to use staff time and redistricting resources must first be cleared by a member of the committee and by one of the committee chairmen. A committee chairman will not unreasonably deny a legitimate request.

4. To ensure the security of information and to protect licensing agreements with software manufacturers, access to computer information and the computer system used in the redistricting process will be restricted to redistricting committee staff. With permission from a chairman, individual legislators may be present and direct staff in drawing plans.

5. Political data will not be included in the redistricting computer system. Political data should not be shown to or discussed with redistricting committee staff nor at Redistricting Committee meetings.

6. Every change to a proposed plan by any committee member must also resolve the ripple effect on the entire plan caused by that change.

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  • Lesa

    Where on this site do I find the actual proposals.  I’m having a hard time navigating.

  • Peter

    Where on the site do I draw my proposal?  We are invited to draft a proposal, but I can find no place to actually do so.

  • Rdmbarnes

    Still looking myself.

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  • David Edward Garber

    Perhaps principle #6 should read as follows, instead: “Districts will be contiguous and reasonably compact and reasonably unified by transportation networks.”  I see no sense in some past districts, for example, that link both Tooele and Brigham City via the Great Salt Lake, or that link both Vernal and Moab across nothing but relatively-impassable wilderness.

    • K.G. Seegmiller

      Access isn’t the most important factor, but significant difficulty getting to all areas of a district would likely impact actual representation/communication.

  • David Edward Garber

    It seems that these committee members are not following procedure #5 as well as they could, whether for better or for worse.  For example, although their redistricting software deliberately does not identify any home precincts of any current legislators, it’s obvious from their public hearings that they are examining how their proposals would affect current legislators.  If they have concluded that procedural rule #5 isn’t good, then they should change it; and, if they still believe that it’s good, then they should follow it.  So, I suggest that they alter either their rules or their behavior (or perhaps even both) so that they both conform with each other.  I hope that this isn’t too much to ask of these politicians.

  • Joni L. Hilliard-Crane

    I am unable to find any of the 27 citizen plans you state have been posted. Can you make it easier to find them? Does one have to go into the toolbox to find them? If so, how is this easy for the citizenry to repost and discuss?

    • Christopher McClelland


      All of the user submitted plans in the online redistricting tool will be posted on under Maps and the appropriate district type.  They will appear in the same area of the web site that holds plans proposed by legislators at public meetings.  If you have submitted a plan and cannot find it on the web page, either we need more time to migrate plans from the online tool to the web site or your plan did not satisfy Committee criteria
      (deviation, connectivity).  We will send out emails to all users who have submitted plans.  If you have questions concerning a specific plan, feel free to email us at

      Chris (Legislative Staff)

  • Joni L. Hilliard-Crane

    Thank you Chris, got your email, my plan had an error I had to fix, I resubmitted it again earlier today, is it likely to show up soon?

  • Fred44

    Why does the state of Utah not follow a plan similar to the United States when it comes to the state legislature.  Why not have one Senator per county, at least one member of the house per county, and then divide the other members of the house based on population.  This would make it very difficult to gerrymander a district, and would give representation to all Utahn’s.  I say if it works for the founding fathers it should work for us.

    • Robert Horning

      What you are suggesting is precisely how the Utah State Constitution was laid out.  Personally, I think it is a wonderful idea and should be followed, but unfortunately a U.S. Supreme Court ruling essentially declared the concept as “unconstitutional” and forced the “upper chambers” of almost all state governments to reapportion the senate to equal population representation.

      At this point, to put something like that into effect would require either impeaching all of the justices in the Supreme Court who felt this way or to amend the federal constitution to permit states to once again give a senate seat to each county.

      For myself, I think it provides a very good balance of power to rural counties so their interests aren’t trampled under the mass of the larger counties like Salt Lake and Utah counties.  Essentially, the Senate has become a modified version of the House of Representatives.  The big counties would still have larger delegations to represent their interests

    • David Edward Garber

      I appreciate both Fred’s thoughtful suggestion and Robert’s historical perspective.  I believe, as did our nation’s Founders, that government is best NOT necessarily when it operates as democratically as possible but when it helps its citizens to protect their rights as effectively as possible.  So, if one-senator-per-county will help me to safeguard my innate rights better than one-senator-per-1/29-of-all-Utahns, then I’m all for it.  And I feel inclined to believe that it would.  Sadly, since 1776, our fellowcitizens have largely come to value majority rule more than rightful liberty, which is tragic.

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  • David Edward Garber

    Anyone who wants to understand the subject of “gerrymandering” as thoroughly as possible may enjoy this fun educational YouTube video.