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September 22, 2011


Congress: David Edward Garber “Garber CDs D”

Garber CDs D, Congress

The following plan was submitted by David Edward Garber through the online redistricting tool.  This plan is publicly available within the online tool and can be used as a template for future plans. This map was voted on and considered a finalist on September 22nd. 

Author’s Description:

* This proposal respects Utah’s population centers and transportation routes and political jurisdictions and natural terrain.
* It places only three counties (Davis & Salt Lake & Utah) and three cities (Bountiful & Salt Lake City & Pleasant Grove) and one SLC neighborhood (Ball Park) in multiple districts.
* It keeps at least two present Congresspeople resident within their respective districts.
* It pays minimal attention to present districtal boundaries (for better or for worse).

Deviation From Ideal Population

Largest District: 0.05%

Smallest District: -0.06%

Here’s the map:

Garber CDs D, Congress (KMZ file)

  • David Edward Garber

    I’ve seen many U.S. Congressional redistricting proposals this summer that divide Utah into various “pizza slices” and/or “doughnut holes”—but I still prefer a regional division, instead, such as this one that I’ve proposed.  It establishes one district for each cardinal direction—it creates a northern district (#1) for both Logan and Ogden/Layton to share, it creates a southern district (#4) for both Orem/Provo and St. George to share, and it then halves the remaining central Wendover-SLC-Vernal corridor into both a western district (#2) and an eastern district (#3) via a line that bisects SLC but otherwise roughly follows I-15 without splitting any other cities.  So, to restate, these four districts would be:

    * #1 for northern Utah (serving Ogden/Layton & Logan & the rural north);
    * #2 for western Utah (serving NW SLC & western Salt Lake County & the Salt Flats);
    * #3 for eastern Utah (serving SE SLC & eastern Salt Lake County & the Uintah Basin);
    * #4 for southern Utah (serving Provo/Orem & St. George & the rural south).

    These four proposed U.S. Congressional districts split only one city (namely Bountiful and SLC and Pleasant Grove) in each of three counties, while leaving all other 26 counties intact, which division is rather minimal, and could easily remain so minimal as these four districts’ borders are readjusted every decade.  These districts also generally keep every rural hinterland connected to its most appropriate urban center and, similarly, they consistently extend along major transportation routes rather than across impassible natural terrain, unlike various districts in most other proposals.  These districts’ shapes are far from gerrymandered but are more contiguous and/or compact than most.

    Perhaps this proposal’s greatest strength is that it is far kinder to rural Utahns than most other plans that I’ve seen, as it divides rural Utah about as rationally as it possibly can.  For example, I’ve seen some other proposals that inexplicably assign whomever represents St. George to also represent faraway Snowville but not to represent nearby Kanab, which makes relatively little sense to me, as Kanabites’ interests are far more connected with St.-Georgeans’ interests than Snowviller’s interests could ever be.  Although I reside in the heart of Utah County, my location hasn’t blinded me to the fact that Utah consists of far more than just its populous Wasatch Front.

    So, that’s my case in favor of this proposal that I’ve submitted.  I’d appreciate any helpful suggestions for its improvement, so that I may perhaps submit an even better revision of it for further consideration.  Thank you!

    • Michael Jolley

      Good job David! This is a great map.

    • David Edward Garber

      I recently discovered that I made four small errors in assigning Salt Lake County precincts, and I also decided that these particular districts would be better numbered north-clockwise than north-southward.  So, I submitted a revised version of this plan (along with a refined case for it) that has been posted here…

  • Will Carlson

    David Garber’s map is the closest thing to an appetizing pizza slice I’ve seen. But I still can’t choke it down as the map clearly targets Utah’s progressive population. The three cities that are split are the Largest (SLC), the fifteenth largest (Bountiful) and the twentieth largest (Pleasant Grove). If the map really needed to split population centers, it seems too convenient that the population centers of Provo, Orem, and West Jordan (all GOP dominated) are left in tact.

    • David Edward Garber

      I made no conscious effort to both identify and target “progressive” cities for division as some sort of weird punishment, but I can understand if you don’t merely take my word for it.  Perhaps my reasons were a bit arbitrary, but I chose to keep every county intact except for Davis and Salt Lake and Utah, chose to minimize municipal divisions, chose to extend this southern district only up the eastern side of Utah Lake, and chose to let massive SLC alone straddle two districts in Salt Lake County, and such decisions led to these splits falling where they did.

      I already displeased a Republican, as well, because of how this proposal would affect Jim Matheson’s reelection prospects, but I wasn’t thinking about such concerns when I drew these boundaries.

    • David Edward Garber

      I made no conscious effort to both identify and target “progressive” cities for division as some sort of weird punishment, but I can understand if you don’t merely take my word for it.  Perhaps my reasons were a bit arbitrary, but I chose to keep every county intact except for Davis and Salt Lake and Utah, chose to minimize municipal divisions, chose to extend this southern district only up the eastern side of Utah Lake, and chose to let massive SLC alone straddle two districts in Salt Lake County, and such decisions led to these splits falling where they did.

      I already displeased a Republican, as well, because of how this proposal would affect Jim Matheson’s reelection prospects, but I wasn’t thinking about such concerns when I drew these boundaries.

    • Brandon Plewe

      These cities weren’t targets (and Pleasant Grove is far from a Democratic stronghold).  It’s just that if you want to create a compact northern Utah district, you use up all your population before you get South of Bountiful (which isn’t much of a Democratic stronghold either).  Same goes for Southern Utah.  Salt Lake is hard to unify because it’s so big.  I was able to make a revision of this map that keeps Salt Lake together (#65204), but it forced other changes (a N-S split of Salt Lake County rather than E-W). Because of the relative location of Provo and Orem, you actually have to work hard to cut them up.  By the way, the gerrymandered committee proposals that everyone hates do cut up Provo and Orem (along I-15), which very few people have complained about.

  • Brent Gardner

    I like this plan the best of the six. It makes sense and maintains contiguity and access within the dsitricts. It appears to have been drawn with a true non-partisan approach. Proecting turf should be one of the last considerations in a truly fair redistricting. I particularly like that the northern counties that are contiguous are in one district as are the counties along the Uintahs. There is poor at best access from north to south in Eastern Utah and this plan acknowledges the fact. the same goes for Western Utah where access from Box Elder to Tooele counties is poor.

    • David Edward Garber

      Agreed, Brent, and I feel pleased that you noticed this.  All of my proposals seemed to pay more attention than many others’ to both natural terrain and transportation routes.  If a given district contains areas that are less connected (by transportation) with each other than they are with neighboring districts, then that seems rather irrational to me.  It’s not always possible to divide Utah perfectly in this respect, but I strove to approach such perfection as nearly as I could in every one of my proposals.

  • Jswan

    I like this one the best also.  It makes the most sense and I like the district I would be in, which combines the west side of the SL valley (where I work) with Tooele county where I live.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you!  Roads tend to connect people, along with their interests, so I figured that (for example) residents of Wendover would tend to find far more in common with those of Magna than with those of either Snowville or Delta.  It sounds like my intuition was correct about this, at least in your case—but I doubt that you’re alone.

  • David Miller

    I have to agree with the comments that I have read here. As I have reviewed the six plans, this one this one makes the most sense. The districts have reasonable geographic contiguity and they would seem to be relatively balanced now and the areas that are most likely to see the biggest population growth in the future seem to be broken among multiple proposed districts.

    In my opinion this map is head and shoulders above the other five.

    • David Edward Garber

      Why, thank you!  By the way, it was purely accidental that each of these four districts included one area of relatively-rapid growth (namely, western Weber & Davis Counties, western SLC & Utah Counties, Heber, and St. George); but I feel pleased that it did, as this will help its boundaries to remain more stable.

  • Highflyingfool

    I like this one the best.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you!  I did my best, and I feel pleased that you appreciate my results.  If you’d like to tell the redistricting committee this, as well, along with why, then I’d appreciate it; if not, then that’s fine also.  You may e-mail this committee at

  • Steven Montgomery

    Well done. I like this proposal the best. 

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you!  I think that it makes about as much sense as possible from a geographical perspective.  Once people begin to consider partisan interests, though, it might cause some frustration.

  • Craig Shuler, CPA

    I love your plan Mr. Garber.  It is far and away the best.  Your logic and reasoning are right!

    South Davis County is the logical place to split northern Utah and metropolitan Salt Lake.

    It is unfortunate that Alpine School District must be split in 3, but even that split is logical.
    Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain fit well with Tooele County and west Salt Lake County.  Lehi and American Fork (with a lot of Salt Lake commuters) makes sense with Canyons School District in the east Salt Lake, Summit, and Uintah Basin district.  The cities nearer Provo make sense in the Provo / St. George / SE Utah district.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you!  As far as I know, these suburban areas are more tied to their respective county seats than they are to their present district-mates, but they’re still rather tied to both—and I couldn’t easily keep every county intact.  I might have kept Utah County intact, for example, but this would have required me to group Tooele with Delta rather than with Eagle Mountain, among other changes, which I figured would make even less sense overall, so it wouldn’t be worth this price.

  • laceyes

    I like the logic in this plan. 

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you!  I definitely tried to make all of my proposals as logical as possible.  And, every time that I try to reimagine this one’s boundaries, I keep arriving at divisions that make even less sense overall than they do now.  So, I think that these boundaries are roughly as logical as they can possibly be for Utah, given the strict legal criteria (such as equal population size for each district) that they must satisfy.

  • cbparkin

    I have to admit that this is the best option. I hate dividing up Salt Lake County but does so in a rational way, while geographically connectining each region of the state in a fair manner.

    • David Edward Garber

      Yes.  Salt Lake County has grown too populous to remain entirely within a single U.S. Congressional district, so it must invariably be divided among at least two such districts.  And, if Salt Lake County must be split, then I figure that this is roughly the best way to do so, with its western half connected with the Salt Flats and its eastern half connected with the Uintah Basin.  I experimented with some other possible ways to halve Salt Lake County, such as north-south and diagonally, but I didn’t feel nearly as good about such alternatives as I felt about what I proposed above.

      And, in stark contrast with Salt Lake County, neither Logan nor Ogden nor Provo nor St. George is populous enough (yet) to have a U.S. Congressional district all to itself, but invariably needs to share its district with a second population center.  And, as for myself, I prefer to group Logan with Ogden, as well as St. George with Provo, which I figure is most sensible overall for these four areas.  I note that some other proposals have grouped St. George instead with parts of Salt Lake County (or even with faraway Logan as part of an “and everything else” district), but this seems less far sensible to me than what I’ve proposed above.

  • Ronoftuscany

     I like this redistricting map the best of the final six. It appears to be balanced.

    What I could not determine is the effect on Congressman Jim Matheson. Does it place him in an area with more Republican voters? If it does, such a district could cause the elimination of the Democratic and Independent voice in Washington for Utah. With Utah being a Republican controlled state, making it more difficult for the Democrats in Utah to have a voice and some representation does not seem fair. What is your thought Mr. Garber?

    • David Edward Garber

      I didn’t pay any attention to such concerns as I drew this map, but focused more on where Utahns live, what connects them (like highways), and what divides them (like mountains).  I’m not nearly as familiar with Utah’s partisan demographics as some folks are, but I have some acquaintances who are very familiar with these statistics, and one such acquaintance told me this week how my proposal above might affect Utah’s U.S. Congressional delegation.  Although I’m sure that others would be very interested to know what he told me, as well, and although I’m sure that such information will spread anyway, I doubt that it would be appropriate to post such information on this website, due to the redistricting committee’s official policy (whether for better or for worse) that this process ought to remain as free as possible from partisan concerns—and, so, in my efforts to respect this policy, I will decline to answer your question at this time on this website.  I hope that you understand.

  • David Edward Garber

    And this comment partly answers Ronoftuscany’s question about how my proposal would affect Utah’s present U.S. Congressional delegation, which I just politely refused to answer.  The redistricting committee, whether for better or for worse, deliberately chose to exclude all partisan data from its redistricting software—so, I wasn’t already familiar with this data, I didn’t have ready access to it as I drafted my proposals, and I made no effort to find it.  It seems that, for those who place high value upon keeping Utah’s four U.S. Congressional districts equally competitive and/or non-competitive between America’s two major parties, such as Aaron Browning, my proposal will not be very satisfactory at all.  But everyone has has different priorities, and some goals can’t be satisfied without sacrificing others—so, I can’t please everyone.  In any case, thank you for your input, Aaron.

    • Aaron Browning

      David, I appreciate you and all you do for this state. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to play a part in redistricting. Visually I think your map is an A+ :)

  • Justin Caplin

    Thank you for your map David! Utah is a difficult state to split up, but it seems that you did a fine job of drawing the four districts. Being from Southern Utah, I appreciate keeping us all together and only extending as far north as Utah County. This map appears to be the best choice of the “finalists,” although I do somewhat support some form of the “doughnut hole” as well. 

    And thank you for your explanation in the comments–it helps to see it written as well as on the map.

    • David Edward Garber

      You’re welcome, Justin!  Yes, I also figured that St. George belonged with Provo more than with SLC or Ogden or Logan.  I like the “doughnut hole” concept alright, myself, although it’s hard to figure out where best to place that hole.  My favorite U.S. Congressional proposals would be, in order: (1) Garber’s, (2) Clark’s, (3) Harper’s, (4) Cox’s, (5) Sumison’s, and (6) Okerlund’s.

  • Ronoftuscany

    Mr. Garber, Thank you for your map and reply.

    I am happy to learn that neither Republican, Democrat, nor Independent elements influenced the development of your redistricting map. I do understand your opinion. I hoped that all maps were non-politically influenced. My concern is that Utah is unevenly Republican and conservative and other Utahans have all but lost their voice on important governmental and societal issues.

    I hope that the Redistricting Committee will select a redistricting map that is non-partisan, even, fair to registered voters and is Not gerrymandered.

    Let’s hope for the best outcome.

    Thank you.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you, Ronoftuscany!  I did my best to create a proposal that makes as much sense as possible geographically, and it seems that quite a few people believe that I succeeded.  So far, my proposal’s severest criticism has been exclusively about its partisan effects, which I didn’t consider at all when I created this proposal, whether for better or for worse, due to the redistricting committee’s policies.  Some like Aaron Browning might forge these four districts in ways that make all four districts (equally) somewhat hard for Democrats to win, while others like me might unintentionally forge them in ways that make one district slightly hard for Democrats to win and another district extremely hard for Democrats to win and the other two something in between.  I don’t know which option will make Republicans or Democrats (or Utahns in general) happier or sadder, overall, or if this will even matter much in the long run.  But I do want an outcome that will divide Utah in ways that make as much sense as possible for Utahns in general, and not in ways that significantly favor one party’s (or county’s) statistically-common interests above (or below) those of another.  So, I’ll join you in hoping for the best outcome.  Thank you again!


    One of the better maps I have seen.  I like your regional approach.  I have tried to work on my maps in the same fashion.  I would like to see all of Salt Lake City in one district, but otherwise, no problems.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thanks, VIGGOE!  I’d love to reduce my short list of divided counties and/or cities from three to zero, but due to other considerations, three is about as good as I can do.  And I think that SLC can handle it.

      Salt Lake County is almost big enough for two districts and, as such, needs to be divided somehow.  I experimented with some other ways of halving Salt Lake County, such as north-south or diagonally or something more meandering, all of which would leave SLC intact but likely split some other city, but I didn’t feel as good about any of these alternatives as I did about this north-south division that splits SLC.  I’m still open to alternatives, although I don’t know whether the redistricting committee is or not.

      By the way, I note that every semifinal proposal other than both mine and Steve Clark’s divides Salt Lake County among four districts rather than among only two.  These four other proposals divide Utah County less, though, unlike both mine and Steve Clark’s, which divide Utah County among three districts.

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  • David Edward Garber

    Oops!  I may have accidentally misassigned Salt Lake County precincts #3215 and #4641.  Ah, well…

    • David Edward Garber

      So, if I moved Sandy precinct #4641 to the western district and Taylorsville precinct #3215 to the eastern district, then this (I hope) would keep these two cities intact, as I thought that I’d already done.  But I would also need to move, say, SLC precinct #2230 to the eastern district in order for this proposal to continue to satisfy required populational parameters.  This would mean that SLC’s Ball Park neighborhood would now be undivided while its Downtown neighborhood would be divided, instead.  I wonder if I should submit another map with these minor corrections, and perhaps a better name.  Hmmm…

  • Kim

    I can not say enough good about this map. It’s brilliant! It meets the federal land criteria and only divides Salt Lake County two ways. Thank you, David, for your common sense approach.

    • David Edward Garber

      You’re welcome, Kim!  I didn’t even consider federal lands when I drew this proposal, but it assigns some to each U.S. Representative’s district, anyway, which seems to be important to some people.  And, as Salt Lake County is almost populous enough for two whole districts, it only made sense to me to halve it this way, so that its east and west benches each have their own respective district.  If you like, then please share such praise with both your state legislators and Utah’s official redistricting committee (via, and invite others to do so, as well—and to post their comments here, as you have done.  Thank you!

  • Brandon Plewe

    I saw that you submitted something that looks the same on October 5th (which isn’t showing up on the website yet).  Is it different than this one?  Just minor tweaks?

    I submitted one that follows this same strategy (but with some significant differences) on the 5th too (#65204), which has not yet been posted.  I would appreciate your feedback on it; perhaps there is a compromise that keeps the best of both plans?

    • David Edward Garber

      When I first created this map, I had some trouble figuring out which Salt Lake County precincts belonged to which cities, and my efforts to determine this by “eyeballing” maps of these cities’ shapes resulted in four very minor errors along the boundary between districts number 2 and 3.  I’d hoped that, if I made any such errors, then someone else with better information would eventually catch these errors and tell me, but nobody ever did.  I found some better information, myself, recently, and caught these errors as I double-checked my work.  My newest proposal, which you asked about, corrects these four errors.  The precincts that I accidentally misassigned are Taylorsville #3215, Murray #4471, Murray #4475, and Sandy #4641.

  • Cindy W

    This map is the best by far.  Well done Mr. Garber.

    • David Edward Garber

      Thank you, Cindy!  By the way, I just submitted another revision of it that renumbers these districts north-clockwise rather than north-southward, which I figured would be better overall.

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  • Swordmaiden

    This is Horrible!

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