The lines for Wyoming’s state legislature are drawn by the legislature as a regular statute, subject to a gubernatorial veto. The state has one congressional district.
Overall State Grade: C-
Responded to some public input and population shifts: Advocates noted that there was opportunity for the public and county clerks to provide input during the redistricting process, and that some of those calls to action were heeded by the legislature in preserving some communities of interest. The state legislature also provided free mapping tools with Maptitude for community members to submit draft maps and
made information available online on their website. Additionally, legislators increased the size of the state legislature this redistricting cycle to account for the population shift to more urban areas of the state, while attempting to avoid enlarging the size of rural districts. Instead of allowing significant population deviation between rural and urban areas, the state legislature chose to increase the size of its two bodies—from 60 to 62 members in the state house, and from 30 to 31 members in the state senate.
Incumbency protection and population deviation requirements: While the growth in the size of the legislature avoided leaving districts with a varied population deviation beyond the constitutional limits, the ultimate maps still reflected the clear priority for legislators to protect incumbents. Discussions amongst legislators and decisions to draw lines that considered the residences of other legislators prioritized
their incumbency and future re-elections over drawing the best maps possible for local communities. Additionally, a few districts in the final maps still had deviations that slightly surpassed federal constitutional requirements.
- Improvements are possible through community of interest advocacy: A push from the community in South Cheyenne saw some success in this redistricting cycle, where more of the community was held together in fewer legislative districts instead of splitting the more predominantly Latinx community among many districts. Advocates reflected that the new maps were better than before and afforded more opportunity for representation from South Cheyenne.
- Advocates cannot rely on the legislature for public education: While there were some instances, like in South Cheyenne, where advocates saw that public input improved the final maps, they largely argued that there needs to be more direct public engagement from the state legislature as a whole. In this cycle, much of the engagement had to fall on individual legislators or candidates to educate the public and bring more community members into the conversation.
- Incumbent protection is one of the primary obstacles to community-led redistricting in Wyoming: A major theme of this redistricting cycle in Wyoming saw legislators prioritizing preservation of their own districts over making the best decisions for local communities. Much of the debate between the state house and state senate over whether to expand the size of both chambers revolved around the impacts a new map would have on existing legislators. The state cannot continue to consider incumbency to protect their own seats.