The new precincts are part of the ruling recently approved by Federal Judge Robert Shelby which established new voting districts for seats on the Commission and school board.
While the ruling included a rough outline of twelve precincts, San Juan County Clerk John David Nielson said he is waiting for direction on how to proceed.
“The court has recommended precincts, but I don’t know if they are set in stone or if we can break them down a little more,” said Nielson.
One question is who Nielson should wait for direction from: the courts, Utah Lt. Governor, San Juan County Commissioners, or any of the scores of attorneys who are involved in the issue?
Judge Shelby made his final ruling and closed the case, but the county has filed an appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. A recent request for a stay on the case asked for an expedited decision from the Court of Appeals (see the story on page 1).
Instead of being built around the boundaries of area communities, the twelve new precincts are drawn from the boundaries of the new voting districts.
The number of residents within the precincts varies and three of the twelve precincts are not within a community in the county.
The most awkward boundary may be for Precinct 8, which includes 1,537 residents. The precinct includes the residential neighborhoods south and east of Blanding and runs all the way to the Arizona border, including the Mexican Water and Red Mesa areas.
The county had 20 precincts under the prior system. The precincts were centered around a community concept, with a precinct in each major population area in the county.
There were four precincts in Blanding, and three in Monticello.
The Commission districts are currently represented by Bruce Adams (1), Phil Lyman (2), and Rebecca Benally (3). The school board districts are currently represented by Lorie Maughan (1), Merri Shumway (2), Steven Black (3), Elsie Dee (4), and Nelson Yellowman (5).