This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The real issue in the Utah House District 57 boundary line discussion is this: What about the voting rights of the 660 people in north Cedar Hills who showed up to vote last election?
By virtue of a county boundary error perpetuated by the state, these voters have consistently been placed in District 57 and had certified District 57 candidates on their ballot. But they've had no voice in choosing candidates to fill the U.S. House seat and the Utah House and Senate seats that correspond with District 27 where they are assigned.
Although they have "assigned" representatives, they've been denied their right to vote.
Since former District 57 Rep. Craig Frank discovered that a line on page 657 of a 900-page document fixed him and about 2,550 other people outside the northern boundary of the district he represents, legislators created a hubbub of activity determining whether Frank actually resides in his district. House leaders adopted the position that he does not and was therefore ineligible to serve as the representative.
But, surprisingly enough, nobody's talking about the other residents of Cedar Hills and the fact that they were deprived of their right to have a voice in who makes laws for them.
Images of thugs with billy clubs standing outside polling places to prevent citizens from voting come to mind and outrage us. We'd be similarly incensed if an election official threw away a full ballot box because it was more convenient, or simply did not count those ballots.
How is the effect of the District 57 boundary inconsistency any different? Why is there no acknowledgement that last November those 660 voters were denied representation? Why aren't we doing everything within our power to repair the situation?
Having accurate boundaries for voting in two years does not change what happened in November.
If the boundary isn't immediately adjusted to include those Cedar Hills residents, we might as well have thrown away their ballots on the day they voted.
Perhaps it would be easier to just throw away those 660 ballots. Easier, but wrong. And, in case you are wondering, I would say the same regardless of the party or individuals ultimately affected. Our right to vote is that important.
The Legislature can put things right. Adjusting the boundary retrieves from the garbage those voters' ballots for the U.S. House and the Utah Senate seats. But if that adjustment is not made in time to give those voters a say in a Jan. 29 election to fill the vacant District 57 House seat, not only do their ballots cast for November's Utah House election remain in the garbage, they again will have no voice. The legislators hold the billy club and can keep them powerless.
Please call the legislators who represent you, and be thankful that you actually had the chance to vote.
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeIf2_YEbVo for a more detailed account of the boundary problem.
LauraLyn Eberting is the PG14 Republican Party precinct chair and a District 57 voter.