The Idaho Redistricting Commission meets for the first time on June 7, but the public can get involved right away in the once-a-decade task of redrawing the state’s legislative districts.
This time around, anyone with a computer and Internet access can participate in redistricting, a task done each decade after the U.S. Census to equalize the number of residents each legislative district represents. Public proposals submitted through the new redistricting software will be considered by the commission.
Once the districts are redrawn to match Idaho’s changing population, areas of more growth — like the Treasure Valley — will have more representation, leaving areas with less growth or population declines with diminished clout. Depending on how the lines are redrawn, it could leave you with different legislators representing your district.
This is the first decade for this level of easy public access to the redistricting process. Following the 2000 Census, people wanting to submit plans needed to access mapping software at public libraries. This year, Maptitude Online software to draw up proposals is available at the Idaho Redistricting Commission’s website. For those starting out, here are a few guidelines:
• Idaho’s two congressional districts must each have about 783,791 residents.
• The population of the largest and smallest state legislative districts can be no more than 10 percent different. For a 35-district plan, that means a goal of 44,788 people in each district, with a range of 42,549 to 47,027.
• A plan must have between 30 and 35 districts.
There’s no deadline yet for submitting plans. That’s something the commission will look at when it starts meeting, said Keith Bybee, a legislative analyst.
On Monday, he said 67 people had signed up to use the software since Friday.
The six-member commission has three appointees each from the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have already announced their picks: Allen Anderson of Pocatello, Julie Kane of Lapwai and George Moses of Boise.
The Republican commissioners have not been publicly named yet. Jonathan Parker, executive director of the Idaho Republican Party, said the names will be released at a time closer to the commission’s first meeting.
Ben Botkin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 735-3238.