Provo City Council narrows electoral district maps to 11 options | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy of the City of Provo

Map 26, one of the maps selected by the board for further discussion.

It was a mapmaker’s dream and a councilman’s nightmare during Provo City Council’s business session on Tuesday.

The question to be resolved was to select the map that will be the new configuration of electoral districts for the next decade. The final selection must be submitted to the Lieutenant Governor’s office by May 10.

The public and some council members submitted their ideas for new constituencies to more evenly distribute the new population growth – they originally submitted 120 electoral district maps. The board had previously reduced that number to 24 cards. On Tuesday, they were able to raise the number to 11.

Now, those cards will be put on the Open Town Hall website so residents can, once again, have their say as to which one they love – a sort of ranked choice voting for the cards. By March 29, the next council meeting, it is hoped that the council will vote on the final electoral district map.

It appears that, for now, the city is left with five districts and two citywide seats for the election of council members. Every 10 years after the US census, the state legislature requires adjustment to accommodate growth.

Courtesy of the City of Provo

Map C one of 11 electoral ward maps selected by council for discussion

On Tuesday, the cards were placed under certain topics or themes that represented areas of interest. Almost all mentioned the west side. Themes included; North and Northeast, the Purple Monster (referring to quarter color and size), Westside split, Westside/Grandview, and other common versions.

The maps also had a variety of offbeat names like: A Great Plan, Plan 28, Map C, and many more. Council by vote of three or more quickly shed light on many maps.

Besides the neighborhood on the west side, neighborhoods surrounding Brigham Young University and student housing were a concern. Council members, particularly Bill Fillmore, were concerned that while representing everyone regardless of voting status, most students would not vote, leaving long-term voting residents in a district much smaller.

Exactly how to distribute these districts has not been determined and is still under discussion.

Councilor David Shipley feared that some areas could, if divided, be weakened while others would be strengthened.

Although there were concerns about gerrymandering, the council felt good about giving the public another option to choose from.

According to Open Town Hall administrator Karen Tapahe, the maps and resident survey will be online by Thursday morning and will remain open until March 27. This will give council staff two days to gather survey information for the March 29 council meeting. Even if they don’t vote by the end of the month, the board will still have two meetings before the deadline to make the final decision.


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