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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

4th Seat in Congress

By John L. Valentine
President of the Utah Senate

The Governor, Speaker and I just discussed a map draft for a fourth seat in Congress.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

We have been proportionally underrepresented in Congress for several years now. It is well past time to put Utah citizens on equal footing with our neighbors in other states.

I certainly appreciate all those who have worked so hard on the issue.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the map?

9/20/2006 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three Republicans in charge of drafting the map. Of course it will be fair to both parties: the Republicans and the Republicans.

9/20/2006 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I get this in a Shapefile format, please?

9/20/2006 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Rob Latham said...

"We are in the business of rigging elections."

--Former State Senator Mark McDaniel (R-North Carolina) while commenting on drawing legislative districts

Single-member districts can be either competitive or representative, but they can't be both. Single-member districts also result in many wasted votes and cheat Utahns out of fair representation.

The solution is the creation of four at-large districts elected by proportional representation. That way, Republicans and other non-Democratic voters won't be orphaned in the proposed Second Congressional District -- the obvious Democratic seat. And Democratic and other non-Republican voters won't be orphaned in the proposed First, Third, and Fourth Congressional Districts -- the obvious Republican seats.

Setting aside the separate federal constitutional problem of apportioning a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives to the District of Columbia, if Utah's Constitution allows the creation of a statewide at-large congressional district under H.R. 5388 I.H., then it also allows the creation of of four at-large seats elected by proportional representation, which would avoid the orphaning problem, prevent gerrymandering, and result in a much closer fit between voter preferences and representation.

The federal statute (2 U.S.C. 2c) requiring single-member congressional districts would have to be modified or repealed, but H.R. 5388 I.H. already repeals a significant amount of existing federal law. All this solution lacks is the will of the U.S. Congress and the Utah Legislature to play fair.

U.S. soldiers are in currently harm's way to to implement proportionally representative, multi-party democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You really want to know what I think, Mr. Valentine? Start competing and stop cheating Utahns out of the fair representation that American troops are fighting for overseas.

Rob Latham, Chairman
Libertarian Party of Utah

9/20/2006 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

There are three things you should know about this proposal:

1) Utah Democrats have been relentless in trying to help Utah to get a fourth seat. Despite what you may have heard from Republicans, Congressman Jim Matheson is a strong supporter of the bill presented to the Judiciary Committee to give Utah a fourth seat. It was information obtained by the Utah State Democratic Party in 2002 on Census Bureau statistical manipulation giving the seat to North Carolina that got Utah to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome – not the challenge on overseas missionaries which failed to make it to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Republican Attorney General lost the case.

2) The map presented by Huntsman et al is not a sincere effort. It contains a population deviation that does not meet the Constitutional test of Article I Section 2 that has been interpreted to require that only a very small amount of deviation is acceptable within a state. See Karcher v Daggett, 462 US 725 (1983) (US Supreme Court). Therefore, this map was presented for political purposes. Despite the rhetoric about being bipartisan and coming together, it is neither. The GOP appears to be trying to set up Democrats to take the blame for Utah’s failure to get a fourth seat. If the Republicans wanted it, they have the majority in Congress to pass it. It is the Congressional Republicans that have failed to provide appropriate representation in Congress to the citizens of Utah and the District of Columbia.

3) Utah Democrats have been relentless in trying to provide Utah with a fair redistricting process. Utah needs an independent commission, stricter rules, and a fair process for redistricting that is why Rep. Roz McGee sponsored HB91 in 2006, HJR14 in 2005, HJR17 in 2003, and Rep. Karen Morgan sponsored HJR03 in 2002. Pledges of fairness by Republicans are not enough. The Utah Republican Legislature’s failure to adopt a fair redistricting process is costing Utah representation in Congress.

So, Senator Valentine, let's get on the stick and get a fair redistricting process. If you do, the Utah Legislature may yet be the one branch of government that hasn't failed Utahns in their efforts for adequate representation in Congress.

Indeed, what we need is legislation to create an indpendent redistricting commission -- not another map.

. . . or perhaps we are playing into the GOP's political strategy to change the subject after yesterday's tax shift from the uber-wealthy to the middle class while short changing our children's education.

9/20/2006 8:11 PM  
Blogger Reach Upward said...

The map seems fine. What does not seem fine is a push to circumvent the Constitution. It chaps my hide that Utah is underrepresented in Congress. Ignoring constitutional provisions is not the way to resolve the issue. We will get another seat in 2012 anyway. The headlong rush to overcome an injustice by doing something worse is not the right thing to do. If D.C. should have representation, let's have the guts to amend the Constitution and do it the right way. This back door stuff will bode ill in the long run.

I completely disagree with Rob Latham on having four at-large seats in Utah for the U.S. House. Do we really want four more Senators? While it sounds like fairness on the surface, it would not create better government.

9/21/2006 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Todd

9/21/2006 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Governor and Legislature are sincere in their efforts. They believe that 4 Congressional seats are better than 3 and if that means giving Jim Matheson an ideal Democratic seat then so be it.

Don't let Todd fool you with his self-serving talk about population deviations and court cases. This is a first draft and the numbers show that with a few minor tweaks it is very doable.

Step up Democrats and prove to the State that you want a 4th seat.

9/21/2006 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

Could we see the districts broken down by population totals?

9/21/2006 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

Give us a fair redistricting process. Step up Republicans and show us you want a 4th seat.

9/21/2006 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have checked it out I like it!!!!!!!

It would be great to get a 4th seat!!

9/21/2006 12:43 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Curious:

Here is the breakdown for the recent Four Seat proposal. (Source: the Governor’s press release.)

It’s important to understand that this isn’t a final draft. All parties recognized from the beginning that we’ll need to adjust the borders slightly to make the districts as close to equal in population as possible.

Thanks for asking about the numbers - I'd love to hear your thoughts after you give it a scrutinizing squint.

9/21/2006 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

After looking at the numbers and doing a comparison of the before and after maps side by side, this plan is definitely Matheson-friendly, but I'm curious why SL County is not divided among all four districts (it is divided among all three today) and why is Utah county not carved up like it is today?

9/21/2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 4th seat in Congress is a Mirage! 4 votes in a 437 member House have the SAME power as 3 votes in a 435 member House! All other states will LOSE power, only DC will gain power in this deal.

Giving a vote to DC violates the plain words of the US Constitution! Mormons who claim the Constitution is divinely inspired, but ignore its plain words, are hypocrites.

Giving a vote in the House to DC will lead to demands for Senate votes by DC! Then Guam and Puerto Rico will demand the same, and ask the courts to ORDER Congress to give it to them. Both parties, afraid of being called racist, will eventually give unconstitutional power to non-States. This will skew all votes on legislation, treaties, and confirmation of judges. Protecting the meaning of "marriage" is minor compared to protecting the meaning of "states".

Washington residents can be given Congressional representation by simply giving all of the non-Federal land in the City back to Maryland! Let them vote for Maryland Senators and Representatives! No need for a Constitutional amendment.

The proposal shows Utahns, and Mormons, to be politically greedy for temporal power as well as mathematically illiterate, and hypocritically dismissive of the divinely-inspired Constitution.

Mitt Romney will find that his Mormon membership is a liability, NOT because Evangelicals distrust Mormons, but because Mormons will be seen as politically venal, politically stupid, and careless of the Constitution.

9/21/2006 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The proposed deal to give Utah a temporary 4th seat in the House of Representatives is another con game, the kind that Utahns are especially prone to fall for. They are easily driven by their greed--in this case, greed for power--because they think they are virtuous.

Yet any 6th grader can do the math and figure out that Utah will NOT gain any added power in Congress, because the deal will also make it harder to get a majority of votes. Utah will have exactly the same proportion of Congressional power that it has already! Only DC, and the Democratic Party, will win any real power through this deal.

The only Utah winners will be the guy who gets elected to Congress and the people who get jobs on his staff. What a joke! This will be the "weird Utah story" of the decade.

Surely Mitt Romney, with a Harvard MBA, can figure this out. He is going to have to disassociate himself from all the political idiots in Mormon-dominated Utah to get voters to take him seriously in 2008.

9/21/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Not a 6th Grader said...

Anon encourages the politicians to do the math and that 4 is somehow not better than 3. Okay, I'll take that challenge.

3/435 = .006
4/437 = .009

That seems like a greater proportion of Congressional power. However, he/she misses the point. Utah just missed a 4th seat in 2000. We will gain that seat in 2010 regardless of what happens. However, if we can pick up that seat now that Representative will have a 6 year headstart on seniority, committees and experience.

That is good for Utah now and in the future.

9/22/2006 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reach upward says four at-large seats "would not create better government"

not a 6th grader says a 4th seat now "is good for Utah now and in the future"

are we supposed to take their unsupported claims at face value because they're accompanied by a sanctimonious tone, or do they have justifications for your claims?

9/23/2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Wow, great comment by the Chairman of the Libertarian Party. Proportional representation sounds like a great idea.

Regardless of whether we get that or not, Utah definitely needs an independent, fair, and transparent redistricting process.

9/23/2006 11:40 PM  

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