Utah enacts new congressional districts

Utah enacted new congressional districts on Nov. 12, 2021, after Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed a map approved by the House and the Senate. The enacted map was drafted by the legislature and differed from a proposal the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission released on Nov. 5.

The congressional map passed the Utah House 50-22 on Nov. 9 with five Republicans and all Democratic House members voting against it. The Senate approved the map on Nov. 10 in a 21-7 vote. Before signing the congressional map, Cox said he would not veto any maps approved by the legislature, and “the Legislature is fully within their rights to actually make those decisions and decide where they want to draw those lines.” This map takes effect for Utah’s 2022 congressional elections.

Rep. Chris Stewart (R) said he supported the mix of urban and rural areas in each district. “I know some people will say, ‘Well, that’s just a way for you guys to protect the Republican interest,’ but it’s really not. There’s only four of us. Only four members of Congress. The rural issues, the public lands, and the water issues are so critical to our state,” Stewart said. In response to allegations that the map showed partisan bias, Gov. Cox said, “If you have to divide counties, Republicans are always going to divide counties with lots of Democrats in them. And Democrats are always going to divide counties with lots of Republicans in them. It’s happening all across the country.”

Rep. Brian King (D) said “the Congressional map is the product of national Republican groups working to put their self-interested stamp on Utah. I’m disappointed that our Republican colleagues have not pushed back and insisted on Utah decision-makers for the Congressional map.”

As of Nov. 15, 12 states have adopted congressional district maps, one state’s legislature has approved congressional district maps that have not yet taken effect, six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required) and 31 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. At this point after the 2010 redistricting cycle, 26 states had enacted congressional maps.

Congressional redistricting has been completed for 105 of the 435 seats (24.1%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.