About Redistricting

Learn more about the redistricting process and why it's necessary
What is Redistricting?

Redistricting is the process of drawing new district boundaries for congressional, legislative and state school board districts based on Utah’s resident population. Every ten years, the Legislature redraws district boundaries based on the results of the most recent population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This data determines the ideal size of Utah’s Congressional, State Senate, State House of Representatives and State Board of Education districts.

Why Redistrict?

Different regions of the state grow at significantly different rates. For example, according to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the average growth in Utah is 18.1 percent. Utah County grew at an estimated 29.3 percent, whereas Salt Lake County grew at 12.9 percent. If these estimates are accurate, Salt Lake County will lose seats, whereas Utah County will gain seats.

Although this example demonstrates that legislative districts become unequal over time, this concept is also true for congressional and state school board districts. Redistricting is required to ensure that there is an equal number of constituents in each type of district.

 

What is the Census?

Every ten years, the U.S. Constitution requires the United States Census Bureau to conduct an actual enumeration of every person who lives in the United States. The results of the census are used for two distinct purposes: reapportionment and redistricting.

What Happens to the Census Data?

Once the official 2020 census data is released, the Legislative Redistricting Committee staff will prepare a report that indicates the official 2020 populations within the current legislative, congressional and state school board districts. This report will also indicate which districts grew at a rate below or above the statewide average.

Districts that grew above the statewide average must lose population, and those that grew below the statewide average must gain population. The report will identify the areas that will be most affected by redistricting.

The committee will then get to work by gathering input, considering recommendations and crafting new boundaries to present to the entire Legislature. 

What is Reapportionment?

Reapportionment is the responsibility of the United States federal government to reallocate all 435 congressional seats among the states based on each state’s reapportionment population. The reapportionment data was released on April 28, 2021.

Who is Responsible for Redistricting?

The U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the responsibility of determining how to elect people to fill congressional seats and other state-level offices. Article IX, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution requires the Utah Legislature to divide the state into new congressional and legislative districts no later than the first general session after it receives the official resident population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The Legislature will also consider feedback from the Legislative Redistricting Committee, the Independent Redistricting Committee, and the public.

 

How Can I Get Involved?

The Legislature wants to hear from Utahns across the state and invites each citizen to provide public input. Members of the Utah Senate and House of Representatives will travel across the state and hold town halls for communities to participate in.

As a way to get as much input and feedback as possible, the Legislature funded the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission. This commission will also travel to various locations around the state to listen to different perspectives and provide a recommendation to the Legislative Redistricting Committee.

Additionally, once available, all Utahns are encouraged to use our state-of-the-art map drawing tool to create their own maps for the committee to review. The Legislative Redistricting Committee receives hundreds of recommendations from the public to review each redistricting cycle. 

Visit the “Town Halls” or “Maps” pages to learn more! 

 

Delays Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Data from the 2020 Census was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The data is necessary to complete the redistricting process. The Legislative Redistricting Committee is expecting to receive the data from the Census Bureau by early September.

After the Census Bureau announced delays to the release of census data, it was necessary to modify the schedule of both the Legislative Redistricting Committee and Independent Redistricting Commission. Under the new schedule, the Commission will report its recommendation to the Committee at a public hearing in November, and the Utah Legislature plans to hold a special session to adopt redistricting plans before Thanksgiving.

While the process has been delayed and will be on an accelerated timeline, the Legislative Redistricting Committee is committed to maintaining an open and transparent process and gathering as much public input as possible.