Greg’s post below on the criteria used in drawing ward boundaries, reminds me of another interesting issue: the use of ward boundaries as a criteria for drawing political boundaries
I have repeatedly heard the story that in Utah when the lines for state legislative districts are drawn up they track the boundaries of ecclesiastical units. Thus, when possible wards and stakes are not divided between different state representative or state senate districts.
You can see the political logic of this practice. In politics, name recognition is gold, a valuable asset that you don’t want to fritter away or disappaite. People who are active in the church, especially in leadership positions, get a fair amount of name recognition. The district lines allow Mormon candidates to capitalize on this effect, and it further solidifies Mormon strength in the legislature.
My understanding is that the practice matters more one you get out of the Salt Lake to Provo corridor and the ward and stake boundaries become more expansive. Like I said, this is a rumor that I have heard from several independent sources, some of whom such as David Magleby, former chairman of the BYU political science department, are fairly knowledgable. Can anyone with more experience in Utah politics confirm this?