It feels like it was just 10 short years ago that we were doing this…
If you’re a redistricting junkie (and we know you are) then buckle up and grab something solid because the next three-ish or so days is going to be a bit of a ride. The Legislature begins their special session this morning at 9 a.m. Technically we have 30 days to draw lines for the 15 state School Board seats, 75 Utah House and 29 Senate seats, and the 4 U.S. House seats. We expect to be done before the end of this week.
Why is that? Because of the massive amount of work that has gone into the process leading up to the session. TO THE LINKS!
• Speaker Becky Lockhart says a few things about redistricting, addressing the thoroughness of the process and those who would rather the courts draw the maps. We’re not saying she’s issuing a challenge or anything, we’re just saying she used the words “Bring it on.”
• Adam Brown, data freak at BYU, put together a nice primer back in June that is definitely worth going over.
• Lisa over at the Dnews put together a redistricting preview. We’re not saying we agree, but Kirk Jowers is always good for a pithy quote. To wit:
“It’s the same movie that’s played out every 10 years,” said Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “The side with the power creates a map that’s to their advantage. And the side that’s not in power whines about it.”
• Lee at the Trib drops his preview as well, in which a certain chairman of a certain party that begins with a “D” and end with “emocratic” shows us that perhaps his math skills need a bit of a brush up.
But Dabakis said some Democratic lawyers believe it may be possible to convince a court that Utah’s districts are extraordinarily out of partisan balance. He said Democrats receive more than 40 percent of votes, but receive fewer than 30 percent of congressional and legislative seats in districts drawn 10 years ago. “And the new districts are worse,” he said.
Isn’t there someone around here who can explain why that kind of statement fails fifth-grade math? Anyone? Yes, Mr. Brown in the back has his hand up.
• Don’t forget that there will be a public rally from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the Rotunda. Cheer on your favorite maps and bring a clever sign to wave around. We’ll throw a shout out to whoever manages to land their face on the front page of the Tribune.
• If you’re new to the who redistricting process, don’t worry. We’ll just let that slide and be happy you showed up at all. The best place to start with Redistricting 101 is RedistrictUtah.com, which has an unbelievable amount of information, from maps, to comments, to the basics.
• Of note: We think we’re the first place to do digital-only bills in the nation when it comes to redistricting. The maps will be live online during the debates so that the public can follow along. That’s right, paper bills won’t exist this time around. Should make things cleaner.
• We’ve also got a few clean-up bills to take care of. Read them here.
If you want to follow the proceedings, there are several ways to do it.
In person: We’re at the Capitol. There’s plenty of room for everyone.