Idaho redistricting: New political map of state is in the works, but lines are not set in stone yet

The bipartisan Redistribution Commission is redrawing the legislative and congressional districts of Idaho based on new population counts from the 2020 census.

BOISE, Idaho – The six-person bipartisan commission that is redesigning Idaho’s 35 legislative districts from which voters will select the state’s 105 lawmakers over the next 10 years has released two proposed maps for public comment.

The Idaho Biparty Commission for Redistribution, Thursday, October 28, released a map titled L02. The committee is meeting again on Nov. 3-4 to consider these public comments and possibly make changes, and is also discussing how to draw the two congressional districts of Idaho. Another meeting is scheduled for November 10.

The commission draws up the maps based on the 2020 census figures. Idaho is one of the fastest growing states in the country. Commissioners need to examine where this growth has taken place and create districts roughly equal in population of around 52,000.

Two legislative maps submitted by the committee, labeled L01 and L02, are posted on the committee’s website, along with several proposals from citizens who are not part of the committee.

For just over an hour on Wednesday morning, Nov. 3, the committee discussed how to redraw the line between Idaho’s two congressional districts. Despite the state’s substantial growth from the 2010 census (1,567,582) to the 2020 census (1,839,106), Idaho will not receive a third seat in the United States House.

A congressional map previously proposed by the commission would continue the trend of a jagged line of demarcation in Ada County between the first and second congressional districts, the westernmost areas of Idaho, and the counties of Idaho. northern state remaining in the first district.

Another proposed map would place all of Ada County in the Second District, along with several surrounding southwestern counties that are currently part of the First District. Adams and Valley counties would continue to be part of the first district, which would also include parts of central, south-central and eastern Idaho that currently lie in the second.

Most likely, the Congress map that Commissioners ultimately adopt will not look exactly like one of the two Congress map plans that were public at the end of October.

During Wednesday morning’s discussion, Commissioners noted the difficulty in balancing drawing a map that does not separate individual counties and “communities of interest” and what Co-Chair Bart Davis called “achieving zero “- by setting equal numbers between districts, respecting the principle of the Constitution of the United States of equal protection for every citizen.

Commissioners generally agreed that equal protection and representation is most important and appeared to lean towards a plan that would continue to divide Ada County between the First and Second Districts, but as happened in 2000 and 2010 , that line would move west again from where it is now. Davis drew a line along Hwy 55 south to Hwy 44 / State Street, then west to Eagle Road, continuing south to Victory Road, then to the east along Victory to the intersection of Interstate 84. The current map, adopted after the 2010 census, has the boundary line north of I-84, generally along Cloverdale Road.

Earlier in the discussion, commission co-chair Dan Schmidt referred to a proposal submitted by former state senator Branden Durst that draws a sharply jagged north-south dividing line that does not divide any county.

Commissioner Nels Mitchell said earlier this fall that a majority of testimony at cutout meetings around Idaho supported a congressional map that held counties together. The “vast majority” of evidence in favor of splitting counties, he said, stemmed from a desire to split Ada County or the town of Boise on the grounds that those communities were “too powerful. “.

“The desire to achieve zero (population deviation) is a motivation to go in a different direction, not to strengthen or weaken a political party,” Davis said, adding that partisanship is “not a factor at all. in my mind as to how it relates to how you draw a district line. “

The commission began reviewing the state’s legislative districts on Wednesday afternoon, after a lunch break. The panel is also scheduled to meet again Thursday, starting at 1:30 p.m., with more work and discussion on legislative and congressional plans.

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