The idea of “one person, one vote” is one of democracy’s greatest strengths. Key to achieving this democratic ideal is redistricting, the once-in-a-decade opportunity to redraw the districts that make up the legislative map in Wyoming.
As legislators on the Corporations Committee continue their work on the redistricting process, the ACLU of Wyoming is reminding them that they have an obligation to uphold the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and complying with the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ACLU is committed to monitoring their work to ensure fair and equal representation for everyone.
“When redistricting is conducted properly, district lines are redrawn to reflect population changes and racial diversity,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “But too often, redistricting is used as a political tool to manipulate the outcome of elections, a widespread, undemocratic practice that’s stifling the voice of too many voters.”
That’s what looks like is happening in Wyoming right now.
At its last meeting, legislators on the Corporations Committee threw out months of work and a map that was fair for Laramie County and the south side of Cheyenne – areas that have seen the biggest population increase in the state and should have increased representation in the legislature. They replaced it with a map drawn by rural legislators that actually decreases Cheyenne’s overall representation.
Additionally, the new map doesn’t adequately represent communities of interest, like the south side of Cheyenne, a working-class neighborhood and the most diverse part of the city. Keeping communities like this is an important principle in redistricting – especially for minority groups, like the south side’s Latinx population, who have traditionally been left out of the political process.
“The Corporations Committee needs to take a closer look at its proposed maps and must be ensure that people who belong to racial, ethnic and minority groups are not overlooked,” Serrano said. “I don’t have to tell you how critical this process is to our democracy – or how it has been used to deprive communities of color of political power for centuries. Redistricting matters.”
About the ACLU of Wyoming
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.