Wyoming’s newly adopted legislative redistricting plan is under fire from a group of citizens who filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming it fails to give the state’s less-populous counties fair representation. The lawsuit, filed in state District Court in Laramie, charges that state lawmakers were careful in the legislative session that ended last month to make sure that incumbents didn’t have to run against each other. But it claims the Legislature only gave lip service to the notion of making sure the less-populated counties got a fair voice. Gillette lawyer Nick Carter filed the lawsuit Thursday in Laramie County District Court. It seeks a court order to block Gov. Matt Mead and the other four statewide elected officials from implementing the redistricting plan.
Carter said Thursday that he plans to meet soon with Wyoming Attorney General Greg Phillips to talk about putting the lawsuit on an expedited schedule. Carter said he hopes to have the matter certified straight to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Phillips has a policy of not commenting on matters in litigation. An attempt to reach him for comment Thursday was unsuccessful. Renny MacKay, spokesman for Mead, said Thursday, “If people disagree with the Legislature’s redistricting plan, one way for them to challenge the plan is to ask the courts to review the matter. We support their right to do that.”
The Legislature’s Joint Corporations Committee, which drafted the redistricting plan, held a series of meetings around the state last year. Carter’s lawsuit points out that the committee had no members from the state’s 13 smallest counties while 10 of the committee’s 15 members were from the state’s three largest counties. The redistricting process generally allocated more political representation to some central and western areas of the state, which showed population gains in the 2010 census. That drew legislators away from sparsely populated areas, including some counties along the eastern border.
Full Article: Lawsuit challenges Wyoming redistricting plan.