This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
Utah Democrats warned Republicans on Wednesday not to assume that they will easily agree to any redistricting that would cut the number of likely Democratic seats in the Legislature. In fact, they said fairness should actually dictate that the minority party pick up more seats than it now has.
"There seems to be a perception that Democrats are going to lose seats," said Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City, a member of the Redistricting Committee, speaking at the Capitol. "We want to make it clear as we look at the numbers that it is not a foregone conclusion."
Republicans have noted that population in districts held by Democrats has not grown as fast as in those held by Republicans. GOP leaders said the combined population totals of Democratic and GOP seats show Democrats should likely lose one Senate seat and maybe two House seats as population among districts is equalized to ensure "one person, one vote" as required by the Utah Constitution.
But McAdams countered that Democrats average between 31 percent and 41 percent of the vote in statewide elections, and they currently hold only 24 percent of state Senate seats and 23 percent of House seats. He said that shows "we do not need to lose any representation."
Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, another member of the Redistricting Committee, said that Democrats' warning "is a beginning point of good negotiation" as redistricting begins.
Democrats could have a tough time prevailing with that argument, however, because they are outnumbered 14-5 on the Redistricting Committee.
The panel will hold its first field hearing at 6 p.m. Friday at the Lehi Junior High School auditorium, 700 E. Cedar Hollow Road, in Lehi. It has scheduled 17 hearings around the state.