Heavily Republican Utah gets 4th House seat
SALT LAKE CITY — Heavily Republican Utah picked up a fourth congressional seat today, ending a decade of frustration for state leaders who believe Utah was cheated out of an additional seat when thousands of overseas Mormon missionaries weren’t counted in the 2000 Census.
The seat in 2000 went instead to North Carolina, which was able to elect a 13th U.S. representative with an advantage over Utah of only 856 people.
The distribution of U.S. House seats affects a state’s influence in presidential elections through the Electoral College and also the sway it holds on any number of other federal issues.
Utah officials — including recently inducted state Supreme Court Justice Tom Lee — argued unsuccessfully that the government should have counted more than 11,000 Mormon missionaries living overseas, as federal employees and military personnel are.
“This is something that should have occurred 10 years ago and I still believe that the process should be improved to include a more accurate count,” U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said in a statement.