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After 2020 Census, Albany County Will Have To Redraw Its House, Senate Districts

Looking up at the Wyoming capital building on a cloudy day
Stephanie Joyce
Wyoming Public Radio

As legislators look to redistrict the state map, Albany County is hoping to keep its two senators and four legislators.

The Albany County clerk and many of the county's legislators hosted a forum Tuesday to share their thoughts on redistricting and field questions from members of the community.

Now armed with 2020 census data, the state legislature must redraw the political maps to ensure roughly equal representation for Wyoming residents in the house and senate.

For Albany County, one main issue is the town of Rock River, which many would like to take back, arguing it has more in common with other Albany County communities than those in Carbon and Sweetwater that it currently shares a senator with.

Whatever happens on the outer borders of Albany’s districts, inner borders — the ones that split house districts within Laramie — will have to change.

During the forum, Senator Chris Rothfuss said the census might have undercounted Laramie's population, because many university students were back in their hometowns taking classes virtually when census workers were out and about.

"Realistically, I believe we probably didn’t do a great job in the census, partly because of the influence of COVID on our student population," he said. "We probably underreported. That's the reality. We don't have any specific evidence, there's no data that indicates that, but if you look to your gut, if you lived in Laramie and Albany County for a while, you'd be surprised to hear we only grew by 600 people over the last decade."

Nevertheless, the state legislature is constitutionally obligated to use the latest census data.

The district most impacted by this will be Representative Cathy Connolly's — House District 13 — which is typically home to many students living off-campus.

"We know that lines in the city are going to change," Connolly said. "It's very likely that district 13 will not look anything like it does right now."

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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