New Voter Maps Advance in Wyoming Legislature
Thursday, February 17, 2022
The Wyoming Legislature is getting closer to finalizing new voter district maps. The new 62-31 Plan, which would add one new Senate and two new House districts, cleared its first reading in the House on Wednesday.
Jenn Lowe, executive director of the Equality State Policy Center, said how maps are drawn will determine which laws will pass and which programs will receive -- or not receive -- funding for the next 10 years.
"Knowing where your boundaries are, who in your community is being represented, and who is representing you is critical," Lowe asserted. "Because these are the lines and these are the leaders that are going to be leading the state for the next decade."
The additional districts are seen as a way to ensure the interests of the state's rural counties while accommodating the needs of growing urban centers. Maps are drawn based on data from the once-a-decade Census conducted in 2020.
Unlike neighboring Idaho, Montana and Utah, which all saw significant population gains, Wyoming saw very little growth. And Lowe pointed out most of the growth came in counties holding the state's larger cities and towns.
"A lot of our more rural counties lost population," Lowe noted. "It's tough to lose power, and that has been, I think, at the crux of this conversation over the last six months."
After months of debate, the 62-31 Plan was ultimately agreed upon by the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee, whose members are almost all Republicans. Lowe added her group will continue to press the state to limit the potential for gerrymandering, where majority parties carve out districts in ways to give them the best chance to win future elections.
"Several states currently have independent redistricting commissions, and the process seems to be a bit smoother," Lowe contended. "You can design those commissions in a variety of different ways, but taking the lawmakers out of that process makes the most sense."
get more stories like this via email
Groups fighting for Palestinian rights are praising a new fact sheet on religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for …
Lawmakers and immigrants-rights activists in the Commonwealth are hoping to pass the Language Access and Inclusion Act, which would dramatically …
New U.S. Department of Agriculture rules will target fraud and increase oversight of the $64 billion-a-year organic food industry. In Iowa, the …
By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News …
Health and Wellness
With Black History Month underway, Wisconsin researchers and support groups are highlighting the disparities in cases of Alzheimer's disease…
North Dakota's plan to boost animal agriculture has reignited a thorny issue: loosening restrictions on corporate ownership of farms. The state said …
Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage …
A measure in the Washington State Legislature would provide free school meals to K-12 students, but nutrition service workers are worried they are …