Common Cause Files Amicus Brief Defending Independent Redistricting in High-Stakes Anti-Gerrymandering Case

Salt Lake City – Common Cause has filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the State of Utah to protect the 2018 voter-approved citizens redistricting commission in League of Women Voters of Utah v. Utah State Legislature. In the brief, the national, anti-gerrymandering group underscores how the state has ignored the will of the people by passing legislation that imposes impartial voting maps and abandons the key principles of fair redistricting.

“Politicians should not be able to choose their voters, but that’s exactly what partisan lawmakers are attempting to do,” said Dan Vicuña, national redistricting manager for Common Cause. “By doing away with the citizen-led redistricting commission, lawmakers want to hold onto power for themselves. We hope that the court will uphold the will of the people by restoring the UIRC’s authority and the power of the people to choose their leaders.” 

The brief highlights how the congressional map enacted by the Legislature after the 2020 Census constitutes a partisan gerrymander that violates the Utah Constitution’s clauses protecting free elections, equal protection by the law, free speech and association, and the right to vote.

Additionally, Common Cause outlines how independent redistricting commissions have proliferated across America as a solution to partisan dysfunction, and details the high standards the UIRC applied to its work. It further details how Prop 4, and the processes and recommendations produced by the UIRC, represent the highest application of independent, nonpartisan redistricting, and provides a model which should govern all future state map drawing procedures.  

“Our effort in acting as a friend of the court in this brief is to highlight the work of the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission,” added Vicuña. “The UIRC was a remarkable example of how neutrality, fairness, and transparency can protect the rights of all voters and preserve public trust and confidence in the outcomes of our elections and in our democracy.”

The UIRC engaged and received the active participation of Utah’s citizenry, going across the state, conducting open hearings, and receiving detailed input from Utahns about their communities. The commission submitted maps based on that input to the Legislature for approval. This work represents a success story that Utahns can honor, despite the Legislature’s disregard for democracy. 

The case, League of Women Voters of Utah v. Utah State Legislature, case no. 20220991-SC, was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of Utah. Common Cause’s full amicus brief can be found here.