Utah white minority claims gerrymandering protects from discrimination

White folk in Utah's San Juan County claim that districts drawn to actually represent the local demographics unfairly discriminate against them.

Via The Salt Lake Tribune:

Last year, Shelby ruled the voting districts in San Juan County, which today is home to 16,895 residents, are unconstitutional and violate the rights of American Indians. He ordered the county to redraw them.

In June, Shelby declared the county's new proposals did not meet legal mandates. He then appointed Bernard Grofman, a professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, to redraw them.

Grofman created three potential maps for new county commission voting boundaries, and two for the school board. After a pair of public hearings in San Juan County last month, Grofman selected one map for each body.

San Juan County is at least 50 percent American Indian and 47 percent white, according to the most recent data.

Trentadue argued Wednesday that it's unfair that 47 percent of the population should have just one representative on the commission. "It does't pass the smell test," he said.

Trentadue also maintained that Navajos vote for Democrats and that whites vote Republican. As such, the proposed "gerrymandering" is both political and racial, he said.

Nonetheless, for San Juan County's argument to hold up, Shelby said it would have to show a long-standing discrimination against white voters. Quite the contrary, the judge said, the county's history is that there has been no time when whites didn't control the county commission and school board.