Utah Democratic Party unhappy with GOP appts to the independent redistricting commission

The Utah Democratic Party today responded to the appointments to Utah’s independent redistricting committee made by the governor and leadership of the Legislature, stating a strong optimism at many of the commission appointments and disappointment at the politically-motivated appointments made by Senate Pres. J. Stuart Adams and Speaker Brad Wilson.

House and Senate Democrats’ appointments of former Senator Patricia “Pat” Jones, former Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham, and Judge Wiliam Thorne, a former Utah Court of Appeals judge and president of the National Indian Justice Center, will bring legal expertise and balance to the commission. 

“Our appointments to the commission lay out clear commitments to diversity in those who draw our lines,” said Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant. “The only redistricting process to have been successfully litigated in Utah came from the gerrymandering of Indigenous peoples in San Juan County, and Democratic appointments to the commission show our dedication to never allowing unfair boundaries to shut out the voices of minorities again.”

On the other hand, Republican leadership in the Legislature clearly saw the appointment as an opportunity to score political points. “Those who have always benefited from gerrymandering are the ones putting their political cronies on this commission.” said Merchant. “President Adams and Speaker Wilson are looking, with their appointments of Rob Bishop and Lyle Hillyard, to secure 10 years of maps that benefit state Republicans to the detriment of democracy.” UDP feels that ensuring the drawing of fair boundaries are crucial, and is proud to have supported Prop. 4 in 2020.