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Utahns hit the streets to support lawsuit involving redistricting process

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jul 08, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a major lawsuit about Utah’s Congressional redistricting process on Tuesday. On Saturday, people protested in an unusual way in support of the lawsuit.

The area of 2000 East and 3900 South in Millcreek is close to where all four Utah congressional districts come together. That’s why people marched, walked and ran to make their voices heard, asking for what they call would be fairer districts.

In total, the path protesters took was about .4 miles and walked through portions of each of Utah's four congressional districts.

“To see some of the erosion of voting rights in Utah with the gerrymandering, I felt I needed to do something to take a stand,” said Caroline Gleich, a professional ski mountaineer and activist. She hosted the event to help the groups and people that filed the lawsuit.

Utah’s congressional district boundaries were approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Spencer Cox in 2021 – but those maps face pushback, even today. “This is about ensuring that communities are kept together, that they’re able to elect folks that represent their best interests and can use governments as a tool for problem solving,” said Gleich.

Some criticize the new lines for grouping communities that have different needs, in the same district“The Navajo Nation is in San Juan county…which shares the same representation at someone in Provo. Their voice becomes more diluted,”said Leah Gishie, an indigenous activist.

The League of Women Voters, Mormon Women for Ethical Government and some Utah voters sued the legislature, accusing them of partisan gerrymandering to favor Republicans. They also say the legislature ignored the work of an independent redistricting commission that voters approved in a ballot initiative.

The legislature insists it has the right to draw boundaries under the constitution and operated within the scope of the law.

“I live in Downtown Salt Lake City and my voting district was split, right down Main street,” said Wendy Martin, one of the plaintiffs in the redistricting lawsuit.

“It’s exciting, energizing and it’s the way things should be run,” said Martin.

“To have better boundaries that reflect the people and their representation, and to give democracy back to the people,” said Gishie.