Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Corporations Committee Takes on Redistricting

Under the Wyoming State Constitution, the legislature is required redraw the state legislative districts every ten years. Redistricting coincides with the federal census so that the district lines reflect the current make-up of the population in legislative district. With Wyoming’s growing population, it is important that the new districts accurately reflect the demographic changes around the state.

In the 1963 case of Gray v. Sanders, the U.S. Supreme Court announced the “one person, one vote” principle. This principle is achieved when each legislative district has a substantially equal population. Redistricting is one of the key topics on the interim agenda of the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee. On April 12, 2011, the Corporations Committee adopted these seven principles in order to honor the one person, one vote principle:

1. Election districts should be contiguous, compact, and reflect a community of interest
2. Population of election districts should be substantially equal, with the range of deviation not to exceed 10%
3. To the greatest extent possible, in establishing election districts:
a. County boundaries should be followed
b. The majority of the population of each county should be in one district
c. Census blocks should be followed
4. Plan should avoid diluting voting power of minorities in violations of [federal] Voting Rights Act
5. The house shall have 60 seats and the senate shall have 30 seats
6. Consideration should be given to two (2) contiguous house districts in each senate districts
7. Significant geographical features should be considered in establishing districts

Please visit the Wyoming Legislature's 2011 redistricting resource page.

Redistricting is an extremely important topic because it makes a huge impact on our ability to influence government through the ballot box. The ACLU believes that voting is one of our most important civil liberties and fundamental rights, and we encourage all our readers to stay informed on redistricting efforts in your area.

How can you share your thoughts with the Joint Corporations Committee?

• Express your comments at one of the scheduled regional meetings (listed below)
• Contact your local representative or senator
• Express your comments through the “Redistricting Information” page on the Wyoming Legislature’s website

The location and times of the regional meetings are as follows:

Morning meetings are tentatively scheduled for 9:30 - Noon. Evening meetings are tentatively scheduled for 5:00-7:30.

1. Rock Springs May 25 morning
2. Pinedale May 25 evening
3. Casper June 14 morning
4. Wright June 14 evening
5. Laramie June 28 morning
6. Cheyenne June 28 evening
7. Powell July 12 morning
8. Worland July 12 evening
9. Lander July 13 morning
10. Rawlins July 13 evening
11. Torrington August 15 evening

To learn more about redistricting, please read the ACLU’s report, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Redistricting, But Were Afraid to Ask.”