Are citizens involved in redistricting?

Every single person who has proposed a redistricting map is male.

Utah’s redistricting committee has invited any citizen to create their own redistricting map and publish it at RedistrictUtah.com. The site went live a few weeks ago. The first citizen submissions showed up three weeks ago. So, are people using it?

I asked my dedicated research assistant, Robbie Richards, to look through all the maps that have been posted so far. Here’s what he found.

  • 67 different people have uploaded a proposed map. 44 people (66%) uploaded only 1 map; 12 (18%) uploaded 2 maps; 5 (7%) uploaded 3 maps; 5 (7%) uploaded 4 maps; and 1 (1%) uploaded a whopping 9 maps.
  • 5 (7%) of the contributors are current legislators, including Sen. Okerlund (2 maps), Sen. Waddoups (2 maps), Rep. Sumsion (2 maps), Sen. Davis (1 maps), Rep. Webb (2 maps), and Rep. Cox (4 maps).
  • 2 (3%) of the contributors have names that sound like former legislators. Jon Greiner submitted one map and Steve Clark submitted four.
  • That means 60 contributors (90%) are (apparently) civilians.

Of course, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that those 60 citizen contributors are “normal” citizens. It’s probably safe to say that they are politically active. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them have served as party delegates or as campaign managers. Still, that’s an impressive level of citizen involvement, especially when we consider how time consuming it is to produce a map proposal.

Here’s what’s most surprising, though: Every single person who has proposed a redistricting map is male. I should qualify that. Eight contributors have ambiguous names like Alex, Ellis, Casey, Cory, and Chris. It’s possible that some of these 8 are female. But 61 contributors have unambiguously male names like Dave, Steve, Brian, and Matt. Ladies?

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About Adam Brown

Adam Brown is an assistant professor of political science at Brigham Young University and a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. You can learn more about him at his website.
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5 Responses to Are citizens involved in redistricting?

  1. Sue Connor, Ph.D. says:

    Adam, as always, a very interesting analysis.

    However, I am deeply disturbed about your final data point. Where are the women contributors?

    We are here! We are actively working on keeping the redistricting process transparent and fair to Utah’s citizen’s. The good government group RepresentMeUtah.org has two female leaders of their PAC, and several other very smart and active women (and a few good men)! We will not be submitting a map, but will be putting our support behind a set of maps in the very near future. You will however, find our (female) names as posts on multiple news sites, Facebook pages, and in media articles, TV/radio interviews, etc. We are not silent on this issue. And our presence will be loud and clear at a Rally this Friday, July 15 @ 9:00, Matheson Courthouse, where we (and other citizen groups) will voice our opinions about transparency in government to the National Governors Association at their annual convention.

  2. Adam Brown says:

    I’ve seen women participating in other ways. Still, it was really weird when I noticed that massive gender imbalance when it comes to map proposals.

    • Sue Connor, Ph.D. says:

      I just did a brief analysis of the public comments section of the meetings hosted by the Legislative Redistricting Committee. In the first nine meetings (minutes posted on their website)the public comments came from a woman only 25% of the time!

      Too bad. Gender bias in our culture persists into the 21st century!

  3. Sue Connor says:

    Your data helped motivate a woman to contribute a map on the RedistrictUtat site (Thanks Joni!). Kelli (ambiguous name, but a woman) from Represent Me Utah will
    be posting her maps soon. We also hope to be able to present our maps (3) at the final field meeting for the RD Committee – Park City 7/26.

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