Wind River Reservation, Wyoming


Ten years after a federal tribunal overturned Wyoming's system of choosing legislators, the debate continues over whether the state is better off with single-member districts. This month a legislative committee will begin to redraw voting districts and at least one member of a government watchdog group would like to see the Wind River Reservation unified as one district to increase the chances of an American Indian being elected. Some say single-member districts discouraged candidates from running because not enough people able to campaign live in the districts or don't want to singularly take on the incumbent. Sarah Gorin is one of the plaintiffs in a 1991 lawsuit objecting to uneven distribution of voters in districts based on county boundaries and chairwoman of the Equality State Policy Center. She says the problem of candidate disinterest goes deeper. "The part-time legislature is the biggest obstacle to recruitment of candidates. There are just not that many people who have the financial, managerial or familial flexibility to leave what they're doing for two months and go to the Legislature." She said the current setup increased chances of an underfunded but hard-working candidate defeating an incumbent.