According to UtahPolicy.com, voters no longer want state legislators drawing state and congressional electoral districts. Instead, the majority of Utahns want an independent redistricting commission redrawing these districts come census time.
This report comes a month after the Supreme Court upheld the use of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona. According to the findings, nearly two-thirds of Utah voters “say an independent commission should tackle the once-a-decade job of redrawing lines for Utah’s four Congressional districts.”
“Partisan gerrymandering of Utah’s congressional lines has been the subject of much criticism. In 2001, the Republican-controlled legislature drew then Rep. Jim Matheson’s 2nd Congressional District lines in such a way that it mixed urban voting areas with 14 rural counties. The intent? To make it nearly impossible for Matheson (or any other Democrats) to win the seat. The scheme was highlighted by the Wall Street Journal as one of the worst examples of gerrymandering in the country that year. Matheson, with hard work, a succession of terrible Republican opponents and a little luck was able to win re-election again and again, despite Republican efforts.
In 2011, Matheson’s 2nd District was again drawn in such a way that it seemed like a near impossibility for him to hang on to the seat. Matheson shocked everyone by announcing he would run for the newly-created 4th Congressional District which he barely won over Mia Love. Matheson retired from Congress, and Love won the seat (barely) in 2014.
Even though the partisan gerrymandering has mostly benefited Republicans in Utah, only 39% of Republicans think Congressional redistricting should remain in the hands of lawmakers. 49% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats and 77% of independent voters say it would be better to turn redistricting over to an independent commission.”