OPINION — “One person, one vote” describes a principle of voting power. A simple illustration: Imagine District A with 10 people. Assuming all 10 people vote during a given election, each voter would control 10% of the outcome. Now imagine District B with 100 people. Again, assume all 100 people cast a vote during the same election, but in District B, each voter would control only 1% of the outcome. In this situation, the first voter has much more influence over the outcome of an election than does the second. The discrepancy lies in the different populations of the two districts. Hence, “one-person, one-vote” captures the principle that the weight of any one person’s vote should equal the weight of any other person’s vote.
The U.S. Supreme Court addressed this discrepancy in the 1960s when it instituted “one-person, one-vote.” And with the ever-growing and ever-shifting population within the United States, the process of redistricting is necessary in order to keep the population of representative districts as nearly equal as possible. The redistricting cycles that occur every ten years in the United States serve the purpose of applying and preserving the principle of one-person, one-vote through the generations.
In 2018, you and I — the people of Utah — voted Proposition 4 into existence and law to create the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission. The job of the Independent Commission is — with your help — to carry out the redistricting efforts on behalf of the people of Utah. The Commission is eager to hear your voice, including your thoughts concerning any “community of interest” to which you belong, as it will very soon begin preparing drafts of the new representative maps that will heavily influence Utah elections for the next decade.
I encourage all people of Utah to gather your voices and engage with the Independent Commission in the redistricting process. This opportunity will not come around for another 10 years — now is the time.
Submitted by N. JEFFREY BAKER, Commissioner, Utah Independent Redistricting Commission.
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