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Utah's Proposition 4, an anti-gerrymandering measure, falls barely under 50 percent support in latest vote tally

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station at Trolley Square in Salt Lake city on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.
FILE - Voters cast their ballots at a Polling station at Trolley Square in Salt Lake city on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns' no votes against Proposition 4 currently hold a lead of 922 ballots out of 909,060 so far tallied in Utah following the release of additional results by 11 counties Tuesday.

By the end of Election Day last week, the anti-gerrymandering measure's reported results sat at approximately 51.6 percent in favor. But support for the measure had slipped to very slightly under half of all reported votes as of Tuesday, down to about 49.95 percent in favor.

Still, tens of thousands of votes have not been tallied so far in Utah as of Tuesday, including in the state's two most populous counties.

Utah State Elections said on Twitter late Tuesday that there are 45,849 votes outstanding in Salt Lake County, not including provisional ballots, and between approximately 20,000 and 27,000 uncounted Utah County votes, revising an estimate made to the Deseret News earlier in the day from State Elections Director Justin Lee.

Other updates from various smaller counties are expected by Friday, Lee said, though it isn't clear which ones will provide updates that day and which will do so sooner.

Of about 134,147 votes so far counted in Utah County on Proposition 4, 56.9 percent have been against it, while of 340,661 votes thus far recorded in Salt Lake County, about 58.5 percent have favored it.

"We remain confident when all the votes are counted throughout the state, Proposition 4 will win,” Jeff Wright, co-chairman of the Proposition 4 campaign Better Boundaries, said in a statement Tuesday.

Better Boundaries told campaign staff in an email last week that the vote is "currently too close to call."

The email said "it may take several days (if not longer) to have a real sense of how our race will end." A campaign message to supporters Friday said "the race could come down to just a handful of votes."

Lee said after Utah's canvass of election results is completed Nov. 26, any 10 voters who weighed in on Proposition 4 on their ballot may file a request for a recount with the lieutenant governor's office, so long as the margin is less than 0.25 percent of all votes cast on the issue.

Proposition 4's organizers put it on the ballot as a way to push back against gerrymandering, the practice of manipulating political boundaries to favor one party or candidate over another.

If passed, the initiative would establish a seven-member independent redistricting commission, appointed by elected officials in both major parties, which would recommend political boundary adjustments to the Utah Legislature that reflect population shifts in Utah shown by the once-per-decade federal census.

The boundaries affected would be those for congressional seats, state legislative districts and state school board positions.

State lawmakers would be required to formally either accept or reject the commission's recommendations.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated yes votes on Proposition 4 led by 922 votes after updated vote counts were released Tuesday. It was actually votes against the proposition that lead by that margin.