UIRC Meeting – August 10, 2021

Utah Independent Redistricting Commission Logo
Utah Independent Redistricting Commission Meeting – August , 2021

Commission Meeting Minutes August 10, 2021 – Approved (09/03/2021)

The following are the minutes of the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission meeting. The meeting was held on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. in the Taylorsville State Office Building Bonneville Room, 4315 South 2700 West, Taylorsville, UT 84129-2128.


Attendance –   Commission Members

Chair, Utah Independent Redistricting Commission – Rex Facer

Commissioner Lyle Hillyard

Commissioner Jeff Baker

Commissioner William Thorne

Commissioner Christine Durham (virtually)

Commissioner Rob Bishop (virtually)

Commissioner Karen Hale (virtually)

Attendance –   Staff and Others in Attendance at Anchor Location:

Aly Escobar, Administrative Coordinator

Christelle Gatoro, Intern

Autumn Lee, Intern

Sariah Benion, Intern

Seyon Pen, Intern

Matt Cannon, Legal Counsel from Ray Quinney & Nebeker

Teresa Facer, Volunteer

Jessie Pechmann, GIS Volunteer


I.                    Welcome – Chair Rex Facer

Chair Facer welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that Commissioner Bishop and Commissioner Durham were appearing virtually and that Commissioner Hale likely would be appearing virtually as well at 4:03 PM.

II.                  Action Item: Approval of the Minutes of July, 27 2021

Chair Facer asked for any needed changes or additions to the minutes from July 27.

Commissioner Hillyard moved to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Thorn seconded the motion. 

The motion was put to a roll call vote.

The votes were recorded as follows:

Commissioner Baker          Aye

Commissioner Hillyard       Aye

Chair Facer                       Aye

Commissioner Thorne         Aye

Commissioner Bishop         Aye

Commissioner Durham       Aye

The motion was carried and the minutes were approved.

III.                Presentation: General Legal Discussion – Matt Cannon

Matt introduced his presentation for this meeting as focusing on measuring population equality among districts and compactness. Please refer to 5:00 in the recording to view this presentation. The recording and presentation are posted to the Public Notice Website on the August 10, 2021, posting. https://www.utah.gov/pmn/

Commissioner Bishop asked about how military personnel counted for apportionment are used for these numbers. Chair Facer and Matt explained their understanding that the number for deviation is based on residents.

Many of the questions and discussions during this presentation centered around how he math is done for determining deviations as well as understanding what the Utah Legislative Committees principles are.

The second portion of Matt’s presentation focused on compactness.

IV.                Presentation: 2020 Census Data Release & Mapping Schedule – Gordon Haight

Chair Facer moved to the next item and informed the commissioners that census data would be released earlier than expected on August 12. He then turned the time to Gordon

Gordon explained some of the logistics for mapping, and explained that staff were planning to be available from 8am until 8pm each day to accommodate the commissioners’ schedules.  He asked the commissioners to determine the teams they would split into.

The commissioners discussed having the 2 Republican members and the 2 Democrat members on different teams.

Commissioner Durham asked if these teams were planned to be permanent and Chair Facer suggested that teams may change on a weekly basis or similar timeframe.

Commissioner Hillyard asked Gordon to share information regarding some early population numbers with the commissioners as soon as they are available.

Gordon discussed the specifics of how to label each map during drafting to both show that maps are drafts and that there is not necessarily a preferred order to the various maps. 

Gordon and Commissioner Thorn also discussed some of the details of how drafted maps will be available to the public.

Commissioner Hillyard asked about how to use and include data about minorities.

Gordon explained that minority data will be available, and then showed an example of a Redistricting Report Card from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. He explained that while staff may not use that exact analysis, they would be running analysis on drafted maps.

Commissioner Hillyard mentioned that it seems likely that people will complain that the maps might seem to favor one party or another, even though the commissioners will not be considering that data.

Gordon explained that some of the analysis might look at those statements, but overall including this analysis will help to understand public comments and refine maps.

Gordon and the commissioners discussed getting formal analysis done before turning in the maps and Chair Facer and Gordon explained that some of the possible analysis is limited by resources given the remaining UIRC budget.

Commissioner Baker asked about timelines if analysis could be done, sending a map for review cuts into time to map.

Gordon asked the commissioners to give staff their schedules. He explained that staff would match their schedule and would reschedule some weekend events if needed.

Commissioner Hillyard asked if staff would find the Voter Information Guidebook from 2018. He explained that his understanding of part of why Proposition 4 passed was that there was no fiscal note. It was suggested at the time that legislative staff would work for both the commissioners and the Legislature. He explained that he felt that a fiscal note may have changed whether or not the proposition passed but regardless he would like to look at that guidebook. Commissioner Hillyard explained that there seemed to be a lot of confusion and disagreement about how much the UIRC was funded and why.

Commissioner Hillyard mentioned also that there might be public outcry about traveling the state for public hearings. He emphasized that the UIRC wants and needs to hear from the public in each area.

Commissioner Durham asked about how long each mapping session should be to be most effective. Chair Facer and Gordon both answered and Gordon suggested sessions of at least four hours. 

Commissioner Hillyard, Commissioner Baker, and Chair Facer discussed what minority data would be included in the census data released and how that can be used.

Commissioner Bishop asked about what maps each team would work on and how schedules should be sent.

Chair Facer suggested that each commissioner would have a different team for different maps.

Gordon asked commissioners to email Aly their schedules.

Chair Facer made team assignments for the first round of mapping. 

Green Team will consist of Commissioners Durham, Bishop, and Baker.

Orange Team will consist of Commissioners Hillyard and Thorn.

Purple Team will consist of Chair Facer and Commissioner Hale.

Chair Facer explained that he and staff would send some guidance on what team should work on what map, whether each team works on the same type of map concurrently or not.

Commissioner Thorn asked about sending maps back and forth between commissioners. 

Gordon responded that it is up to the commissioners, but that he would like to livestream as much of the mapping as possible.

V.                  Action Item: Discuss and Approve Public Hearing Dates and Locations – Christelle Gatoro

Chair Facer moved to the next item and turned the time to Christelle to present the current proposed Public Hearing schedule.

Please refer to 1:22:10 in the recording to hear the proposed schedule. The recording and handout are posted to the Public Notice Website on the August 10, 2021, posting. https://www.utah.gov/pmn/

Discussion in this presentation mentioned statutory requirements for the public hearings and also included discussion of no longer holding Tuesday Commission meetings and taking care of official work during the public hearings.

Discussion included moving hearings in Provo and Saratoga Springs to the weekend of October 8, and moving the hearing in Logan to a statutorily compliant date. 

Commissioner Thorn motioned to approve the schedule.

Commissioner Baker seconded the motion. 

Chair Facer asked for any discussion.  Not hearing any discussion, the motion was put to a roll call vote.

The votes were recorded as follows:

Commissioner Baker          Aye

Commissioner Hillyard       Aye

Chair Facer                       Aye

Commissioner Thorne         Aye

Commissioner Bishop         Aye

Commissioner Durham       Aye

Staff informed Chair Facer that Commissioner Hale was in the virtual call but having audio trouble.

Commissioner Hillyard informed staff and commissioners of dates USU had no football games.

Gordon suggested that the meeting in Logan can be moved to October 16.

Commissioner Hillyard asked about the possibility of attending a meeting remotely.

Staff informed Chair Facer that Commissioner Hale’s audio should be working.

Commissioner Hale indicated that she would like to vote Aye for the previous vote.

Commissioner Hillyard mentioned having heard about having received 250 comments so far and asked if staff can help summarize those.

Chair Facer and Gordon explained that an agenda item tonight would discuss how commissioners would like comments formatted and given to them.

VI.                Presentation: GIS Community of Interest App. – Commissioner Jeff Baker

Chair Facer moved to the next item and turned the time to Commissioner Baker.

Commissioner Baker presented a GIS app he had worked on as a way to help streamline the mapping process. Please refer to 01:56:00 in the recording for his presentation. Please refer to 1:54:15 in the recording found here to view the demonstration of this app. The recording is posted to the Public Notice Website on the August 10, 2021, posting. https://www.utah.gov/pmn/

This presentation and demonstration included examples of how submissions might be done, how communities of interest might be included, and how existing boundaries can be shown as well as other items.

Chair Facer asked if any other commissioners had any questions.

Commissioner Thorn asked about security concerns.

Commissioner Baker replied talking about how this app is useful for digesting data, but will be connected to the redistricting tool.

Gordon and the commissioners discussed some ideas on how and when commissioners would need to share data like in the example.

Commissioner Hillyard asked about what size of community of interest would suggest that commissioners should or should not split the community. 

Commissioner Baker and Hillyard discussed some potential ideas of what best helps communities gain the best representation.

Chair Facer explained his understanding of how the software shows public input, but the commission needs a strategy to better understand and define those communities based on input.

Gordon suggested that staff can help, the strategy is up to commissioners.

Commissioners and Gordon continued to discuss how to use community of interest submissions and how to verify and refine that input. This conversation also included some discussion of how to get input from elected officials as well as what size of community of interest would be most helpful. Commissioners suggested that staff should help in organizing and refining community input.

After this discussion Chair Facer thanked Commissioner Baker for the app he developed and the direction that his presentation took the conversation.

Commissioner Thorn and Gordon discussed the formatting of how maps and reports would be delivered to the Legislature. 

VII.              Presentation: Mapping Exercise – Autumn Lee

Chair Facer split the commissioners into teams and then turned the time to Autumn to explain the mapping exercise for this meeting.  Please refer to 2:38:47 to hear Autumn present this exercise. During this presentation Gordon and the commissioners also discussed this exercise and which school districts can or cannot be kept intact in a school board district.

The commissioners then split into groups for the mapping exercise.

VIII.            Presentation: Public Comment Format – Julianne Kidd

Chair Facer moved to the next item and turned the time to Julianne.

Please refer to 03:25:30 in the recording to hear Julianne present the formatting for public comments.

The recording and handout are posted to the Public Notice Website on the August 10, 2021, posting. https://www.utah.gov/pmn/

This presentation explained some of the current organization and summary process for comments and asked commissioners for comments on how to best deliver comments to them.

In this presentation and discussion, commissioners and staff discussed sorting comments by relevant district, such as congressional, or senate, and the existence of comments that cannot be used, such as a suggestion to give each county a state senate seat. All comments will be kept and made available to commissioners.

IX.                Public Comment: 

Chair Facer asked if any public comments had come in.

Staff replied that comments had come in and read the comments received during the meeting to the commissioners.

One comment discussed school board boundaries and how Sterling Utah might be considered more similar to Manti than other areas.

One comment mentioned keeping Salt Lake County whole.

Commissioner Thorn asked about the next scheduled meeting and Gordon explained that the next commission meeting scheduled would be a portion of the Public Hearing on September 3.

Commissioner Hillyard asked about accommodations for Public Hearings and Gordon explained the plan for setting up driving and hotels.

Chair Facer asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Commissioner Hillyard motioned to adjourn.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 PM