Project for Deeper Understanding to take on Proposition 4 |

Project for Deeper Understanding to take on Proposition 4

As with most ballot measures, opinions on Proposition 4 vary across a spectrum. But Rev. Charles Robinson, co-founder of the Project for Deeper Understanding, said it seemed like he was only hearing one side of the argument.

For someone who strongly believes in examining all sides of an issue, Robinson wanted to hear the opposition before making a decision himself.

He recently planned Project for Deeper Understanding forum to discuss Proposition 4, which asks voters if they support the creation of an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts. A no vote would mean leaving it to the Utah Legislature to continue drawing the districts. Five panelists with varying opinions on the proposition are scheduled to discuss the measure during the forum on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is set to take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The panelists are Jeff Wright, co-chairman of the group that led the push to get Prop 4 on the ballot, Better Boundaries; Rep. Logan Wilde (R-Croydon); Derek Monson, vice president of policy at the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute; Meredith Reed, a member of the League of Women Voters; and Jason Stevenson, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

Monson said his goal for the evening is to provide information about the proposition from a policy perspective so voters walk away knowing what their vote would mean.

He said the Sutherland Institute has some concerns about the member selection of the proposed independent commission and how much power it would actually have in redistricting.

Reed said she will focus on the opinion that the proposition would improve voter representation and increase voter turnout. The League of Women Voters has been an active supporter of Proposition 4.

Monson and Reed both hope that attendees will have their opinions challenged during the panel, and Monson said he looks forward to some “reasonable disagreement.”

“I’m hoping people feel a little challenged, to have a healthy level of discomfort,” he said. “(I hope they) hear a reasonable analysis or argument that maybe doesn’t sync up with what they think, but they can walk away saying, ‘There are two sides to this issue. I don’t agree with that, but I can respect it.’”

Encouraging people to listen to another person’s opinion is Robinson’s goal with every panel for the Project for Deeper Understanding. He said the proposition appears to be overshadowed by other ballot measures and races between candidates. He wanted to host a conversation so voters were informed.

During the first hour of the event, panelists will answer questions from the moderator. Audience members will be able to ask questions during a question-and-answer session in the second hour.

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