Wyoming Legislature Begins Redistricting Process
With the release of the 2021 census numbers, the Wyoming legislature can now begin the redistricting process based on population changes that happened across the state.
All told, Wyoming's population increased by 69,844 from 2010 to 2020, to a total of 576,851, with Laramie County seeing the biggest increase of 10,131, making it the first county with over 100,000 people.
The Legislature had its first Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions committee meeting for redistricting on Monday, where they discussed what the process would look like, and what rules needed to be followed when it came to how many people could be in each district.
The committee has tentatively set the date of their next meeting for the beginning of September.
The redistricting process is set to near be completion by the beginning of session in December, where a bill will be introduced to formally adjust the districts, along with the possibility of amendments proposed by members.
The Legislature is also encouraging public participation in the process, with people able to access the same software the House and Senate are using, Maptitude, to submit their proposals for what new districts could look like.
Ogden Driskill, majority leader of the Wyoming Senate, said he has been encouraged by the community response he's received so far, with dozens of people commenting on his Facebook posts where he asked for community input.
When it comes to changing the number of seats, Driskill said it's more likely there will be some loss in seats than any seats gains, as one of the example plan shows.
Driskill said it will be a difficult process to make sure everyone is properly represented in the new districts, but he wants to try respecting county lines.
"The county lines do not have legal standing as far as court cases, but from what I know travelling the state of Wyoming, the people I know, county lines are near and dear to my constituents and the people across Wyoming. I personally have made county lines one of my primary focuses to try make county's have as clear cut representation as they possibly can. That's not a committee point, that's me personally, I'm very clear that it's a priority of mine."
As part of that process, besides receiving public feedback, the Legislature is also talking to county clerks and commissioners to get more insight into what would work best for each county.
During the process, Driskill said it's possible representatives will try to adjust how redistricting will affect them personally.
"We got to keep in mind there are 90 people there that are in office that probably a good part of them are running again, and you can't help but look at your district to see how you're affected on redistricting. If it puts you in a bad way, you're probably gonna try and change it."