Guest op-ed: Why I’m voting for Prop 4

David Irvine

During my years of service in the Utah Legislature, I witnessed the level of dedication and concern my colleagues had for the future of Utah. Nearly every decision we made carried the goal of improving the lives for everyone in our state. Regardless of political party, I witnessed the common thread of serving a cause bigger than ourselves. The best kind of legislation was the type that served a greater good and just made common sense.

Unfortunately, not everything that comes out of a Legislature is done for the greater good. The practice of gerrymandering — when politicians manipulate the redistricting process for their own personal gain — is a perfect example of that. I agree with Ronald Regan when he called the practice of gerrymandering “anti-democratic” and “a national scandal.” That’s why I fully support Proposition 4 and encourage my fellow Utahns to do the same.

Under the current process, the Legislature draws our electoral boundaries with virtually no rules and limited transparency. This system creates the opportunity for gerrymandering. Proposition 4 will protect our future elections from the harms of gerrymandering by creating a new process for redistricting. Under Proposition 4, an independent citizens’ commission, appointed by the governor and leaders in the Legislature, would be responsible for taking the first crack at our electoral maps. In the interest of ensuring impartiality, commissioners can’t have a conflict of interest with the outcome of the process. Meaning, they can’t be lobbyists, candidates for office, party office holders, or political appointees

In keeping with the requirements of the state Constitution, the Legislature would still have the opportunity to vote on the maps drawn by the independent commission. But the new process also includes rules and criteria to thwart anyone’s ability to gerrymander. This reasonable and balanced approach to redistricting just makes sense.

Throughout my life of public service I have tried to use common sense solutions to complex problems. Proposition 4 does that by creating a process that will bring greater transparency and political accountability for the people of Utah.

I am proud to add my voice to this important cause and encourage all to vote yes on Proposition 4.