Utah has narrowly passed a ballot measure that will create an independent commission made of up Democrats and Republicans to redraw congressional and state legislative districts after 2020, according to the Associated Press.
The seven person commission created by the ballot measure will draw maps for the districts based on the results of the 2020 census. Then they will send them to the state legislature for approval.
This independent commission good news for Utah, and for the whole country. Many states have been gerrymandered to hell over the past decades, making it almost impossible for Democrats to win even when they have a majority of votes.
Up until now, the Republican legislature in Utah has drawn up districts themselves before voting on them. The maps are then subject to a gubernatorial veto. After this bill, the district proposals made by the commission will still need to pass the legislature, but at least both sides will have an opportunity to influence the proposals.
The measure passed by less than one percent, after two weeks of glacial vote counting.
State laws on redistricting will be very important in the coming years. In 2021, after the census, there will be a mandatory redistricting of all U.S. House seats to account for population changes. It’s a chance to beat back some of the gerrymandering that has kept Democrats from winning. But to do that, bills like Utah’s need to be passed across the country.