For a while, the protesters seeking an independent commission to redraw Utah's political boundaries looked like they might need a little help Saturday morning divvying up space inside the state Capitol.
Kelli Lundgren, who organized the rally on behalf of RepresentMeUtah.org, stood near a bride getting her photo taken and another one getting shot on the marble steps. Not far away, a high school student in cap and gown was posing for pictures as well.
Lundgren had secured a permit to hold the rally outside, but because of cold and snowy conditions, she thought they could move it inside. But Utah Highway Patrol officers said the rotunda had been reserved for bridal shots.
But through negotiations, the rally moved inside and one of the brides, Nichole Wells, smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Snow wasn't part of the plan for her pictures and neither was a rally.
"Not a big deal," she said.
So the 30 people trudged back inside with their signs ("Voters choose leaders not leaders choose voters") and Lundgren began to make her point.
"Please draw fair boundaries," Lundgren said. "Keep communities together."
Lundgren and the protesters don't like the current setup a committee of 19 legislators 13 from the House and six from the Senate.
Reflecting the Legislature's makeup, it is heavily weighted toward Republicans, with 14 on the committee, compared to five Democrats.
The redrawing of the political map occurs every decade after the census figures come out. Utah gained a fourth congressional seat, and a lot of the debate is about how that district will be carved out.
Bob Miller, a former Democratic lawmaker, said the idea of slicing up Salt Lake County into fourths to combine urban and rural voters is simply a way to dilute votes and create a path for victory among Republicans.
He said Republicans tried to do it 10 years ago with Rep. Jim Matheson's seat, but the congressman has proved to be resilient by continuing to win. However, his last election was among his closest; he defeated challenger Morgan Philpot by fewer than five percentage points.
Miller said if the prevailing sensibility in a district is Democrat, then it should be represented by Democrats.
"There is room for democracy in a republic," he said.
Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said he expects the committee on which he sits will take a lot of input from the public. However, he also said the congressional seats must be drawn in a way that each elected member has a stake in what he views as an important issue: federal land in Utah.
Waddoups said under that scenario, members of Congress should have a combination of urban and rural in their districts.
"I want our entire congressional delegation to be keyed in on that and, as a result, they all need some of that federal land," he said. "They need to be able to advocate."
He also took issue with people calling it gerrymandering, saying the state has never been sued over the issue and that he doesn't believe in it. Gerrymandering is the process by which one party carves up a district to gain advantage while putting the other party at a disadvantage.
Lundgren, however, said the committee is political and won't be able to help itself from redrawing districts to serve the parties. And because Republicans dominate, she said that is the party that would benefit from the committee's redrawing effort.
The committee will likely have its first meeting at the end of April. Waddoups said the public will be invited to draw suggested maps. He said the committee would like to have a final map by Halloween.
Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, also is on the committee and said he would be open to the idea of a commission aiding in adopting new political boundaries. But, after being in the Legislature since 1988 and watching the map drawing process, he has come to an inescapable conclusion.
"I don't see where you take politics out of politics," Davis said.